ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT STATE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
With 86% of marketers having used this marketing strategy, Influencer Marketing saw dynamic growth in 2016. Of these marketers, 94% found Influencer Marketing effective.
These analytics were compiled to understand how business to consumers (B2C) marketers are utilizing Influencer Marketing today, and how they plan to incorporate it into plans for 2017. The findings include responses from 170 marketers across a variety of industries including Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Food & Beverage, Media, and Retail, as well as their agencies.
According to the survey conducted by Linqia, 86% of marketers used the specified channel in 2016, with content being the top reason for choosing this channel. 89% of marketers who used Influencer Marketing in 2016 did so to create authentic content about their brand, 77% used Influencer Marketing to drive engagement around their brand and 56% used the channel to drive traffic to their websites or landing pages.
BUDGETS ARE INCREASING IN 2017
As marketing budgets are increasing, a call for accountability can be seen. Data from 2016 demonstrates most marketers spent between $25,000 — $50,000 per Influencer Marketing program, which survey respondents report will double to $50,000 — $100,000 per program in 2017. Overall budgets are set to increase as well, with 67% of marketers planning to increase their Influencer Marketing budgets in 2017 and only 4% planning to decrease their investment in this channel. Influencer Marketing proves to be one of the most effective digital marketing tools. According to RythmOne, advertisers who launched Influencer Marketing program in 2016 and received on average $11.69 in Earned Media Value (EMV) for every $1.00 of spend.
While Influencer Marketing remains a highly popular marketing tactic due to its many benefits, most marketers postulate that determining the ROI of Influencer Marketing will be the challenge in 2017.
MEASURING THE ROI OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
Specifically, 78% percent of marketers cite measuring the ROI of Influencer Marketing as their top challenge for 2017. However, 61% of marketers still measure the success of their programs through audience reach, which, as mentioned earlier, is a metric that can be easily falsified through the purchase of “fake followers”.
This also leads to 67.6% of marketers consider finding relevant influencers their largest influencer marketing challenge.
Hence, marketers have started to track the entire consumer journey and examine how consumers are moving through the complete path to purchase to address this challenge, instead of just looking at audience reach.
Eighty-one percent of marketers cite engagement as their top metric for measuring Influencer Marketing success, followed by 62% who analyze the amount and quality of traffic driven to their website as their top metric.
A SHIFT IN OWNERSHIP
As Influencer Marketing continues its evolution, marketers must evaluate where the channel fits as a line item in their budgets. A survey found that 42% of marketers now account for Influencer Marketing as a portion of their advertising/marketing budgets, whereas only 31% account for Influencer Marketing as a PR/communications line item, signaling the industry’s evolution from an organic channel owned by communications to a paid channel owned by marketing.
PREFERRED SOCIAL CHANNELS
In April 2016, the Pew Research Center announced that “Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. There are now 75.4 million people who were between 18 and 34 last year, compared to the previously largest generation, Baby Boomers, who numbered 74.9 million.” Accordingly, marketers cite Facebook and Instagram, overwhelmingly, as the most important social platforms for their Influencer Marketing programs. As the graph below illustrates, influencer blogs are the next most important channel, with nearly half of respondents leveraging them as an instrument for improving discovery and search engine optimization (SEO).
Additionally, blogs are an especially efficient tool regarding Influencer Marketing as they offer the ability to tell a story. Marketers use this strategy to develop and nurture an emotional connection between their brand and the consumer, in contrast to a fleeting impression delivered through a display ad or social post. Social channels are especially effective when used to reach new audiences and drive traffic to long-form content that has been proven to convert, such as a blog post or video.
Based on the above analytics, we can conclude Influencer Marketing saw an explosive growth in 2016 as 94% of marketers found it to be a very effective tactic for advertising. In 2017, 67% of marketers are planning to increase their budgets regarding Influencer Marketing and only 4% are planning to decrease it. The top challenge of marketers for 2017 will be measuring the ROI of Influencer Marketing campaigns. Some of the most preferred social channels are Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Influencer blogs have also proven to be an important channel, with nearly 87% of respondents leveraging them as tool for improving brand discovery.