This year will surely see refinement of this young marketing channel, as well as development of best practices, standardization of KPIs, and selection criteria that could lead to more effective creative.
But as marketers continue to engage influencers, how do we put a price on personality? Can we predict the arc of an influencer’s career in influencing to make sure he or she is brand-safe ad infinitum?
The Price of Influence
The influencer market is increasingly crowded. As such, it could be argued that influencer costs will drop in 2019 due to saturation.
However, we predict costs will increase. Relying on the proven talent fee model, many seasoned influencers are now armed with agents and managers. Brand demand is increasing at a quicker rate than new talent is developing, so in 2019 we can expect companies with deep pockets to pay asking rates. After all, they’ve been paying six figures for actors to appear in their broadcast commercials for decades. And once influencers have been paid $30k to post a single photo on Instagram, they’ll be less likely to develop and curate original content for $1,500 plus some product.
For those who agree influencer marketing will soon be (or already is) just as legitimate a form of advertising as broadcast or OOH, how should marketers quantify their return on influence? Is it all about impressions, or is it more easily qualified? Will brands be able to justify paying a premium for creating something unique, original, and engaging, when the internet once seemed so... free?
Quality influencer marketing falls to the creative side of the spectrum vs. analytics-driven media, in which it’s much easier math to work from a cost-per model based on audience size/reach.
True investment in influencer marketing makes sense for companies committed to pure brand marketing, awareness, and stimulating upper funnel conversation. For long game cultivation of new audiences, creatives will take ownership of this effort.
If you want to work with quality influencers in 2019, you must budget for it. Abandon the notion influencers should work for product. Free product is for award show gift bags, not compensation.
Consistency = Efficacy
Brands wishing to make effective content in 2019 and grow sustained conversation with a devoted audience should scout a select group of aligned influencers and invest heavily in those relationships. I
t’s best to engage these influencers for multiple marketing efforts instead of single campaigns. These longer-term relationships lift brand recall by appearing more genuine to customers. Brands will need to see influencers as a real asset and integral piece of their marketing pie. After all, influencers can flatter a brand and turn believers into customers in ways other advertising cannot.