For the last several years you have probably heard the term “influencer marketing” a lot. It is no wonder as it was googled 21 000 times in 2017! In comparison – only 6460 in 2016 ( 325% increase over 12 months!). So what does this popular collocation mean, any ideas?
It is a phenomenon of modern marketing that places expert consumers in the role of consultants for buyers looking to make informed purchase decisions. More and more people start trusting the advices from social media bloggers – and the power of influencers is growing every day. It is the most actively growing type of online marketing, which gradually displaces all its competitors. In fact, 3 out of 4 consumers already rely on social media while choosing a certain product/service.
Only Instagram alone has the market size of $1.2 billion. By the end of 2018 it is expected to reach $ 1.7 billion and in 2020 to double its profit. The number of brands that sponsored influencer marketing is 12.9 million (2017) and by the end of 2018 it is expected – 24.2 million (double gain!)
Influencer marketing’s return on investment (ROI) is 11 times higher than of traditional types of marketing; plus this index doubles after 3 months (with this no one else is able to compete!). There is the average increase in sales of $ 285 for every 1000 people interested. Each $ 1 spent on influencer marketing returns back in average at a rate of $ 7.65 (according to various sources up to $ 11!)
The most popular social media platforms where marketers seek influencers are Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Each of them has its own peculiarities that’s why I would like to discuss them one by one.
In my personal view, Instagram is a queen of influencer marketing. Let me explain why. First of all, it’s very powerful (in fact, among the 2 most powerful ones). Secondly, it’s very beautiful with all its visual content, many pictures and cute short videos. And last but not least, the largest part of its audience are women (among influencers themselves and their subscribers).
In 56% of cases, insta-bloggers have their own brand/products, which they actively advertise (19 among 34 studied cases).
Among these 34 top insta-bloggers of various genres the most popular (and therefore) universal categories are fashion/clothes (40 mentions), beauty (23). Then IT/tech, travel, sports/fitness (10 mentions each), and food (9) follows. All other categories occur less than 3-4 times. Categories IT / tech and Fashion are the most universal, as they are actively advertised by both men and women of all theme genres.
Beauty / Fashion / Lifestyle-bloggers most often advertise cosmetics / clothing; travel-bloggers – travel services; fitness bloggers – sports trainings, equipment, sportswear; pets-channels – goods for animals All of it is quite logical. But nevertheless I discovered interesting cases that are “out of the box”. For example, the cat (@nala_cat) who advises us to use Google clips or the dog (@itsdougthepug) who suggests us to workout with Fitness Planet.
That makes YouTube the king of influencer marketing. Any ideas why? That’s right, because it’s also very strong and powerful! Moreover, it has much more content for men with a huge group of gamers (who are usually the top leaders of all charts), sports and technologies content etc. I’m not trying to be anti-feminist – of course this content is meant for all, but it’s the fact that it is viewed more by male users.
80% of the total number of analyzed top Youtube-bloggers (16/20) have their own products which they advertise. In half of the cases it is a brand/collection of clothes (8/16). Apart of clothing, it can be one’s own online platform, books, electronic devices, cosmetics, podcasts, training/nutrition program, culinary brands or songs!
As for the format, in most cases the ad is being placed in the description of the video. Sometimes bloggers can also mention it in the video itself (pre-roll/mid-roll/past-roll + description) or show the brand logo at the end. But quite often they simply leave a link under the video without mentioning it. What’s more, some bloggers tend to focus on affiliate marketing, working with Amazon and other platforms and getting a commision of the products they are advertising. The most universal categories (which are typical for bloggers of different theme genres) are clothes/ fashion, technology, IT / tech and beauty. In general, beauty bloggers advertise beauty products mostly , gamers – games / computer equipment, fashion bloggers – clothing and accessories, fitness bloggers – fitness programs and devices,. However, fashion and IT / tech products are found among all influencers.
Moreover, there are bloggers who united several categories together and created a unique mixture for their followers to try. For instance, the food blogger Rosanna Pansino combined “food” and “games” categories (two of her personal interests) and actively practices the production of cakes and other desserts with the computer games theme.
Facebook would be the eldest child in my social media “royal family”. As it still needs time to gain such great powers as its “parents”. Some bloggers use Facebook for influencer marketing, but mainly as an additional platform. So the majority of their posts will be reposts from their main social media (mostly Instagram and YouTube). It is quite widely used by some popular celebrities though. For instance, by world-famous football star Cristiano Ronaldo with his 120M followers!
In my view, very soon more bloggers will do the same and start using it more as Facebook creates more and more helpful features for advertisers and develops very fast.
The format of Facebook ads – in most cases are posts (usually with
a picture of a blogger and the products). Sometimes
it can be videos with a description and a link to the product / service. The most popular categories among analysed bloggers – fashion and beauty.
Similar story with Twitter, but I’d say it’s even slightly smaller. Before my investigation I’ve heard from some marketing articles that it impacts consumers’ decision a lot. In my case, I haven’t really felt it. Of course with the successful celebrities it’s a different story – many of them use influencer marketing a lot and their subscribers do listen to what they’re saying and copy their behavior. But when it comes to other bloggers – unfortunately neither they nor their audience are so active and even same bloggers who are popular and influential in Instagram, for instance, don’t get such engagement on Twitter.
Thus, their activity is close zero. They can have several million or hundreds of thousands of subscribers,but no more than 10-30 likes of posts . And in almost all studied cases this was not sponsored advertising, but rather their personal recommendations to go somewhere or buy something.
To sum up, it is no wonder why more and more companies are “into” influencer marketing nowadays. It’s developing and spreading like a virus all over the globe. But a very pleasant and beneficial kind of virus, of course. A positive one, with enormous great features for both – bloggers and brands. So don’t miss your chance to enjoy all the beauty of this new marketing era’s phenomenon!