In just a few years, influencer marketing has gone from a secondary expense in many brands’ online marketing budgets to its very own digital advertising category.
As we look forward to 2018, the influencer marketing space is expected to broaden its scope, extend its reach, and strengthen its impact. While the growing landscape brings with it many exciting opportunities, new challenges will also arise.
Our top five forecasts for Influencer Marketing in 2018:
- Influencer marketing will continues its meteoric rise.
There is no shortage of success stories in influencer marketing, yet some businesses are only now realizing what they’ve been missing out on.
While there was a 90-fold increase in Google searches for the term “influencer marketing” from 2013 to 2016, interest around the topic has doubled in the first nine months of 2017. During the same time, searches for “Instagram influencer” have more than tripled.
The reasons for the growing interest are many, but a key principle underlies all: Influencer marketing is working for all types of brands.
Consistent with year-over-year estimates, businesses are expected to allocate more money toward influencer marketing in 2018.
As the influencer marketplace gets more saturated, however, brands without a clearly defined strategy will find it difficult to break through. Looking at ways to maximize the impact of campaigns, as well as differentiating themselves from their competition, will become key for brands.
2.There will be a surge in influencer demand and value.
As demand for influencers increases, so does the value of their services. In Nigeria, there was a surge in influencer marketing with the rise of many influencers on social media. Most of them have doubled the amount they used to charge in 2016, and have become even more selective about the brands they work with. Mathison admits that as his value and costs have increased, so have his rates.
Many online personalities are starting to recognize their value as creators, and businesses would be wise to budget for their services.
- Measuring KPIS and ROIs will become even more vital.
While many companies understand the positive impact influencer marketing can have on their brand, some businesses are still nervous about what they perceive as nebulous or anecdotal results.
Fortunately, there are many strategies and techniques that can be implemented to help businesses track key performance indicators (KPIs) and return on investment (ROI).
Tracking KPI and ROI is achieved through an understanding of relevant metric tools for a particular campaign, best practices for integration, and a detailed evaluation of the results.
Whether your methods include tracking pixels, offering coupon codes, or directing users toward custom hashtags, working with marketers who know how to deliver comprehensive analytics can offer insights beyond just measuring campaign reach, providing models for audience behavior.
- Video marketing will become essential for reaching online audiences.
In 2018, video will become even more vital to digital outreach as the numbers continue to prove its superiority over other advertising mediums.
According to a study cited in Business Insider, video can be twice as effective in driving sales as text-based ads. Moreover, the report indicated that those influenced by video tend to be active shoppers.
Social media platforms are well aware of the statistics, evidenced by their continued investment in new video services. Last year, Instagram launched “Stories” to compete with the popular, correlative feature available on Snapchat. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, recently announced “Watch,” which will premiere with video channels for celebrities and premium content producers, but eventually be “a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”
While businesses are expected to up their video ad investments, an ever-crowding marketplace means visibility and engagement are not always proportional to dollars spent. Instead, those who know their audience and can find ways to engage with them directly, will see the greatest ROI.
- Instagram will surpass 1 billion users.
At its current rate of growth, Instagram is set to exceed 1 billion users in 2018.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is currently a $1 billion industry, and it could reach $2 billion by 2019. The mammoth platform offers incredible opportunities for partnerships between influencers and businesses; however, with an estimated 2.7 million sponsored posts, the problem of cutting through the clutter has become a stark reality.
To stand out in the coming year, influencers and brands will have to forge relationships, design campaigns, and create distribution plans that are superior to that of their direct and indirect competitors.