According to a new eMarketer report, Influencer Marketing for US Brands, influencer marketing is becoming more important to brands. YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat have become popular channels, and new tools are making it easier to work with influencers.
Influencer marketing has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies in which focus is placed on specific key individuals rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. Wikipedia
Greg Manago, co-president of content and entertainment for North America at Mindshare, says “Influencers are such an important part of what brands are doing today… (that) the question from clients is ‘… what’s the influencer strategy for this program?...’”
Tactics Engaging Influencers With Marketing and Communications (% of Respondents)
% of Respondents
Source: Augure/Schlesinger, June 2015
According to the Altimeter Group’s “State of Social Business” study, 35% of social media professionals polled in 2015 considered their use of influencer marketing to be at a mature stage, while only 14% had no plans to use it as part of their social strategy, says the report.
Josh Martin, director of digital and social media at fast-food chain Arby's, notes that the need for video content is a major driver. Martin says “… we continue to look for partners and influencers… (to) help us create … unique pieces of [video] content… not just taking 10 seconds out of a 30-second spot… slapping it on Facebook… ”
In the past, working with influencers was time-consuming. Brands had to find and vet individual bloggers, strike deals with them and then devote significant resources to managing campaigns, says the report. Now, there are an increasing number of talent agencies, networks and matchmaking services for influencer marketing.
In today’s market, more influencers want to be paid in cash; they have become less willing to take compensation in the form of products or trips.
Rustin Banks, co-founder and chief product officer at influencer marketing firm TapInfluence, recalls that “… when it started out, it was all unpaid… people viewed it as more PR-focused than media-focused… now, each of these influencers is a media channel… (that needs) to be compensated… ”
Influencers surveyed in September 2015 by GroupHigh, a blogger and influencer marketing firm, overwhelmingly preferred monetary compensation over free products, ads on their blog, or affiliate deals.
Preferred Brand Compensation By Influencers (% of Respondents)
% of Respondents
Monetary compensation per post
Free products to evaluate the brand
Ads on my blog
Source: GroupHigh, November 2015
While there are no firm estimates of the size of the influencer marketing business, says the report, there are several signs that US marketers are spending more money on it. Augure’s study found that 61% of US marketers planned to increase influencer marketing budgets in 2015. This was a significantly greater percentage than in Europe, where 20% of respondents expected increases.
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