It’s become abundantly clear in recent years that influencer marketing is kind of a big deal. In a growing effort to reach the ever-elusive “millennial” and other digital natives, brands and companies are increasingly recognizing that traditional advertising just won’t work. You can’t just play an ad on the radio or on TV and hope for the best. You can’t just buy a billboard in one town and hope to double your sales. You need to go where your (potential) customers are… and they’re following the “influential” people on a number of social media platforms.
Influencer marketing is big and it’s only going to get bigger. But how big is this? Visual Capitalist put together a very informative infographic on the subject in collaboration with Influencer Marketing Hub. Some of these numbers just might surprise you and, if you haven’t already started working on growing your online influencer, they may encourage you to get on board. Or, if you’re a brand or company looking to expand your presence online and grow your sales, it just might be time for you to take a much more serious look at investing in an influencer campaign of your own.
First, interest in influencer marketing is skyrocketing. Searches in Google have grown over 300% in the past year and there’s no indication that this is slowing down any time soon. Over a quarter of managers surveyed in the first quarter of 2017 indicate that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer acquisition method and there are hundreds of new platforms sprouting up to help connect brands with influencers too, so it’s not just about forming those organic one-to-one connections either.
Influencers are interested, because there’s money to be made doing practically what they’re already doing. They just have to integrate a brand into their existing messaging and stories. Brands are interested in influencer marketing, because they are really starting to extract the greatest value for their marketing buck this way. That’s why 37% of marketers have allocated specific budget to influencer marketing and 57% have standalone budgets for content marketing.
Indeed, companies are quickly learning how they can reap the benefits of influencer marketing to extract maximum value for their marketing dollars. It’s estimated that the average earned media value per dollar spent on influencer marketing is $7.65. Earned media value is a measure of how much a company or brand gets out of a marketing effort, like when they take out a billboard or run an ad in the newspaper, where there are no direct metrics.
In the context of advertising online, measuring only by impressions isn’t good enough. We have access to many more tools that the non-digital world, so marketers can use hashtags and trackable links to see what value they’re actually getting out of these campaigns. Are visitors simply watching the sponsored video and forgetting about it? Or are they motivated to visit the advertiser’s store and buy something?
It’s said that influencer marketing results in 11 times the ROI compared to traditional forms of advertising and companies enjoy $285 in incremental sales per 1000 impressions. That’s some serious value.
Thanks to these elevated EMV figures and the near limitless potential of the strategy, most brands are increasing their budgets for influencer marketing too. Two thirds are increasing their budget and 13% are staying the same, whereas a paltry 4% are cutting back. And they might not be decreasing their budget on influencer marketing because it’s ineffective; they might be cutting back their ad budgets overall or their business may be shifting how it allocates its resources.
An overwhelming majority of marketers (84%) say that influencer marketing is effective and over half believe that they get better customers from influencer marketing compared to other strategies. Personal recommendations, even if they are sponsored or paid for, carry a lot more weight on the Internet than when a brand itself promotes its own product or service.
Instagram is one of the best platforms for influencer marketing. Engagement is significantly higher than Twitter, up to about 4 or 5 times more compared to Twitter for users with similar follower counts. Brand sponsored content is increasingly common (and more widely accepted) on Instagram too, anticipated to reach over 24 million sponsored posts in 2018.
What’s very important to note here, both for influencers and marketers, is that the actual follower count and strict reach should not be limiting factors. They just have to be taken in consideration when putting together a compensation package. As a marketer, you may be better off getting tens or even hundreds of “microinfluencers” to spread the word about your company than you are to dump all that budget into just a single celebrity Instagrammer. There’s money to be made for everyone, because influence is the new online currency.