The Influencer Market
There has been much debate over the last year or so as to whether influencer marketing is here to stay.
Leveraging individuals with fame, influence and a following is not a new concept. Way back in the 1760’s, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, producers of pottery and chinaware, used royal endorsements as a marketing device to show value in the company and promote others their product.
But in the digital era, the way in which influencers are used has evolved into become an essential marketing weapon for brands of all shapes and sizes. As the role social media plays in consumers lives continues to grow in importance, brands are constantly searching for new influencers and avenues which allow them to authentically engage their audiences through social.
Influencer marketing has now become a vital organ in brands digital marketing plans, allowing them to get on the map, target specific audiences and dominate social conversations.
How do you define an influencer?
An influencer nowadays isn’t just someone who has a sizeable social following. An influencer is someone who has a persuasive power over audiences.
This can range from your stereotypical celebrity influencers, to social media starlets or professional athletes. Influencers are individuals who are seen to be trusted figures in their respective fields with loyal followers. Influencer marketing today means creating and managing a lucrative relationship between a brand, an influencer who is promoting or endorsing a product or service, and their audience.
Why is it important?
Once in the not-so-distant past, out-of-home advertising was the predominant route for advertisers targeting the masses.
With the development of smartphone technology and the omni-presence of social media, consumers today have unlimited freedom to follow and engage with the specific content they want. Brands have faced the challenge of reaching their target audience as the media landscape fragments, spreading consumers across different channels.
Influencer marketing gives control back to brands. By selecting influencers who are seen as trusted ‘gatekeepers’ of their communities, brands can go as wide or as niche as they desire, engaging audiences and driving value in a manner that is cost effective, targeted and, most importantly, authentic.
How to measure the success of an influencer campaign?
There are many ways to define the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
These metrics vary from brand to brand and are dependent on objectives; whether the aim is to increase awareness, education or to sales or conversions. From engagement rates to Click Through Rates to Conversions to CPM/CPE brands should be very clear as to why they are utilising influencers and from that set themselves metrics that they want to achieve.
As influencer marketing has become more famous and viewed as an essential resource for marketing teams, it has also naturally come under fire – with the ASA has submitting new guidelines which demand total transparency from both brands and influencers. But these are positive developments which can only help this hugely disruptive sector grow. And for knowledgeable and proactive teams, these guidelines only help prove the effectiveness and efficiency of influencer practices, and further mould this new wave of advertising which is quickly becoming a fundamental pillar of brand marketing.