Daney Parker, Editor, PRmoment.com
The influencer marketing industry is booming, achieving year-on-year double-digit growth. It is predicted that within three years the sector will be worth $10 billion. So it is not surprising that more than eight out of ten brands (83%) are increasing influencer marketing budgets for 2019/20, according to a research report from marketing platform ZINE.
- Almost half of brands (49%) will be be investing more into micro- and mid-level influencers who have 2,000 to 50,000 and 50,000 to 200,000 followers respectively
- Just 4% will be increasing their investment in social media celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Cristiano Ronaldo and Selena Gomez, all of whom have in excess of 500,000 followers and reportedly charge more than $500,000 per brand endorsement post on their social media channels
- Macro-level influencers (200,000-500,000 followers) are also being shunned in favour of influencers with smaller, but more engaged, followings, with only 6% of brands saying that they will be increasing their spending in this category
2019 budget increase for type of influencer
Explaining the growth of the sector, Caroline Duong, CEO of ZINE, says: “Quite simply it works. As PR people know, consumers respond positively to product and service endorsements by people they trust, respect and admire. Moreover, as a comparatively fledgling channel the industry is able to learn as it scales, meaning that issues such as transparency, ROI and ethics are being addressed by influencers and brands alike to ensure the continued success of collaborations. And this is arguably the key to longevity; the two industry-side stakeholders working together to create great content that is welcomed by social media users.”
Quality not quantity
Discussing key trends in influencer marketing, Duong points to the rise of micro- and mid-level influencers: “Brands and their agencies are increasingly choosing to shun social media celebrities and macro influencers (people with 200,000 to 500,000+ followers) in favour of influencers with a smaller (between 2,000 and 200,000 followers), but more engaged following. This demonstrates the maturity of the industry as advertisers look beyond volume of the potential audience, instead preferring to focus on targeted audiences. The launch of tools such as Reach Insights for Instagram, which reports on unique views and total impressions of posts, makes the medium more accountable and therefore more attractive to brands who are under pressure to demonstrate ROI. The introduction of such new tools and many others, shows that the industry is not only growing – it’s growing up.”
Another theme to emerge from this year’s report was the issue of scalability. Duong says: “Currently 50% of brands collaborate with an average of one to 10 influencers each month, but with 79% of brands expecting to increase their budget over the next year, the majority have ambitions to expand the number of monthly collaborations. Moreover, with the trend towards using micro- and mid-level influencers, to achieve similar cut-through rates, more collaborations will be necessary. However, without the emergence of new ways to vet influencers, negotiate prices and measure ROI this will be hard to achieve. It is clear therefore, that over the coming 12 months, influencers, brands and their agencies will need to consider how to optimise these processes and create more scale efficiencies. This is obviously a nice problem to have – and whilst the industry is still worried about fake followers and engagements, this hasn’t slowed investments in influencer marketing.”
2019 looks good
Duong concludes that this year is a big one for the sector: “Influencer marketing has long been a legitimate route to market for brands, but as our latest report suggests, 2019 is the year the sector will begin to embrace its potential and invest in its future position in the marketing mix.”
The research was carried out in January 2019 and surveyed over 1,000 influencers and 200 brands and agencies.
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