6.5 Billion Reasons Why Influencer Marketing is Here to Stay

May 9, 2019

With influencer marketing showing no signs of slowing down, and on track to reach $6.5B in marketing spend in 2019, here are a few key trends to keep an eye on…

influencer relations trends

Reaching, Beyond Reach:
With follower fraud a major concern in 2017, and platforms spending much of 2018 rooting out millions of fake accounts, brands are relying far less on pure reach as a metric and focusing more on engagement metrics to showcase influencer value.

  • Data companies are getting better at flagging potential problem influencers tracking unexpected shifts in follower counts; and whether their posts receive a typical level of engagement.
  • The focus has shifted from first-party data to track true reach—finally putting influencer marketing at parity with other digital marketing channels.

Long Term Partnerships = Authenticity:
While authenticity has always been at the forefront for influencer content to be successful, we’re seeing a shift away from one-and-done partnerships into longer term relationships with more consistent posts that increase followers’ trust that the influencer truly believes in the product or service.  

  • Shift is driven by demand for more authenticity in marketing campaigns from consumers, coupled with a need for more engaged and loyal digital audiences from companies that want better ROI.
  • Data reinforces that the more often an influencer posts about the same brand/product, the more her audience trusts the endorsement.

 Using Influence to Reach with Relevancy:
Ensuring that an influencer’s audience matches with the target of the campaign is starting to become table stakes in 2019, and one of the best ways to ensure the right audience is being reached is through smart and strategic paid amplification.

  • With constantly shifting social algorithm’s, an influencer’s organic reach often isn’t enough to guarantee successful reach and engagement on their content, targeting the content to look-alike third-party audiences and optimizing it based on performance is now becoming the norm.
  • More whitelisting and usage rights will be included in contracts up front and we’re seeing more influencer content used in A/B testing.
  • The total value an influencer gave a brand will be measured by a combined score of her owned posts’ performance plus the performance of her content when used in paid social.

Content Motion, in All of its Forms:
According to a recent survey, 82 percent of all Internet traffic by 2022 will be video. In 2018 alone, there was an 80 percent increase, year-by-year, for video on Instagram—and while motion was always pegged to be the hottest content trend for 2018, the past year has seen the rise of not only video, but other, more creative forms of motion content like cinemagraphs, boomerangs, stop motion, Stories, GIFS, and AR filters.

  • The quality of tech, editing apps and smartphone cameras are continually improving. With the release of new smartphone models over the last year, almost anyone now has the tools to become a content creator.
  • As a result, influencers are raising the bar, and creator content is evolving to be more creative, innovative and high-quality than ever before.

Instagram Poised to Change the Retail Picture:
With Instagram users “liking” 4.2 billion posts per day, 95 million posts per day going live, and 500 million people using Stories every day, Instagram is continuing to stake their claim as the influencer marketing platform of choice.

  • In March, Instagram released their beta of “Checkout” with 20 fashion and beauty brands, enabling users to purchase directly within the app, signaling a bigger push to drive direct to purchase. In May, they extended that to a select group of influencers.
  • With this new feature, users no longer have to navigate to a brand website when they want to buy. And with their protected payment information in one place, they can shop their favorite brands without needing to log in and enter their information multiple times.
  • Affiliate networks need to get up to speed with the technology and not rely as heavily on publishers!

Measuring, Beyond Measure:
As the industry of influence continues to establish itself as a legitimate marketing channel, data continues to become even more important. In 2019, we’re seeing a need for data to book-end every campaign. 

  • More up-front quantitative and qualitative analysis will further refine the right fit and best performers before campaigns even launch.
  • Influencers are being weighted to determine who individually provided the most value.

Kate Durkin is SVP Influencer Marketing and Media Strategy at Ketchum where she oversees brand and influencer integration, focusing on creative uses of influencer marketing to drive effective ROI for brands. Prior to Ketchum, Kate spent five years at SheKnows Media, as the SVP of professional services, most notably overseeing their robust influencer marketing business. Since SheKnows’ acquisition of BlogHer in 2014, she worked with brands and agencies to create best-in-class influencer marketing campaigns that positioned influencers as a valuable new media channel.