The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Over the past several years, influencer marketing has been building momentum and has transformed into an epic advertising force, thanks to out-of-touch marketing messages and social superstars who have built enormous followings.

Since 2014, the term “influencer marketing” has doubled in the number search queries year over year. The modality has officially become mainstream and everyone wants in. This year, nearly 60% of marketers will be increasing ad budgets for influencer marketing. Brands from every niche are tripping over themselves to get into the game and put forth an influencer campaign that resonates with audiences and generates massive ROI. This is understandable considering that if the right influencers are incorporated in a campaign, the results can be unparalleled; influencers generate figures that more traditional modalities can’t touch in today’s marketing landscape.

As influencer marketing has matured over the past five or six years, marketers have learned how to discover those who hold authority in the digital realm. Then, they broke through into listening to the conversations sparked by these social chieftains. Yet even at this current stage where influencer marketing is catching fire as a standard practice, it is still very much in its infancy. This snazzy new marketing tactic, however, is about to leave its more primitive incarnation behind and evolve into a more sophisticated and refined version of itself.

The revolution is currently underway; learn to understand and accept these changes or get snuffed out by the competition. Here are 4 ways influencer marketing is going to progress and change in the very near future.

#1: Influencer Marketing Leads the Pack

This shift is already occurring and is evident by the number of advertisers bolstering their budgets. Additionally, in a recent study conducted by Augure, 84% of the brands surveyed planned to leverage influencer marketing techniques in 2015. That number is likely to be matched, if not increased, in 2016 as more and more companies bear witness to the unmatched power of social word-of-mouth advertising.

With influencers at the helm of a marketing message, audiences take notice of the product or service discussed and treat this as a trusted recommendation from a friend. When this type of social credence is paired with a solid content strategy, no Facebook or television ad can compare to the impact.

By the end of the decade, influencer marketing will have become the most widely accepted and broadly used form of marketing.

#2: Imposters Will Be Exposed

In the age of technology, advancements in digital tech grow in leaps and bounds virtually overnight. These advancements will allow for influencer identification to grow increasingly easier while separating the imposters from the real deal will become an issue of the past.

Ted Coiné, CEO of The Extraordinary Influencer Network, may have articulated this sentiment best when he said,“Analytics tools keep improving, which means that measuring influencer performance, rather than just their activity, will become ever easier. This is great for the professionals among us who have built a loyal following. It’s really bad news for those who buy fake followers and merely appear influential.”

#3: You’ve got to Pay to Play

As many influencers are now considered to be bona-fide celebrities, despite their massive followings, many brands feel that it is unnecessary to actually pay these individuals for their services. In the aforementioned Augure research, nearly 70% of the 600 respondents felt that influencers shouldn’t be paid. One third of those surveyed claim to having never paid an influencer for their work. This could be part of the reason Mynewsdesk reported that56% of marketers complain that they fail to achieve positive results from their influencer campaigns.

As influencer marketing continues to develop over these next several years, pay rates for influencer will become standardized. This is the natural order of industry maturation. Businesses must understand that these individuals provide a much needed service in an age where more traditional forms of advertising are dying. In order to get these folks to join your cause, they need to be provided with what they desire; a way to pay their own bills.

#4: The Boom of Employee Influencers

Recently, many companies have been taking notice that everyday individuals can have great social impact with the products and brands that they advocate; this has led to the birth of advocacy marketing. These internal programs help to transform consumers and company employees into brand advocates who help elevate a company’s message and credibility through word-of-mouth social advertising. These types of “mini-influencers” can have massive impact when in numbers as they help to break through the algorithms that surpass brand messages in social feeds. Combined with the fact that a recommendation from a friend is more powerful than any marketing ploy available, this modality has massive potential for growth. In fact, company advocacy programs have skyrocketed 191% in use since 2013. As this trend progresses, it will ultimately alter the face of influencer marketing forever.

One of the secrets to success is to understand that everything is constantly changing; nothing stays the same forever. Right now, it is influencer marketing’s time to evolve into something new, with increased emphasis on effectiveness and ease of execution. The only way for marketers and brands to achieve success is to accept the transformations as they happen. As with any online marketing trend, if you’re not on the cusp of the wave, you aren’t going to see the results you desire and deserve.

Need help navigating the evolution of influencer marketing? Give me a call at 760–262–4252 or send an email to info@fanaticsmedia.com and my team and I can teach you to deal with the ebb and flow and achieve massive results in the influencer marketing space. We’ve been doing this since the early days, and we know how to get your brand noticed.

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