Influencer Marketing continued to be a hot topic for brands and agencies alike in 2017. More than ever, we saw clients requesting influencers to be a part of their marketing mix and even invested more in the practice.
So while clients invest more, the practice is always evolving, primarily with new platform enhancements, a focus on micro-influencer, and stricter Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure. Influencer marketing will continue to change in 2018, and here are four key predictions you can anticipate in the coming year.
1. Influencers will be more vocal. It’s not surprising that some notable social personalities are realizing they are valuable assets to brands. We have seen an increase in compensation and demands, but rightfully so. These influencers have built trusted relationships with their followers and want to ensure that any partnership will support their niche.
Brand Takeaway: In 2018, influencers will be more selective with who they work with and be more involved in the content creation process. They will look for brands that provide mutually beneficial relationships, champion their craft and allow them to be authentic to their own content. This means brands will need to make sure they are not treating partners as a media buy and give up some control on content creation.
2. Video and technology will be king. Video was a huge asset in 2017 and will continue to be vital in the influencer toolkit. This is largely because video can be twice as effective in driving sales as text-based ads, and those influenced by video tend to be active shoppers. But with so many sponsored videos across the various social platforms, it is increasingly hard to stand out.
Brand Takeaway: Brands should look to weave influencers into new, emerging technologies in 2018. We’ve already seen some brands take advantage of new tech trends like voice-enabled technology, VR and bot/messaging platforms. But in the coming year, we can anticipate more integration into influencer strategies with technology advancements to help humanize, provide content and add cache. Imagine being able to leverage Alexa to experience an at-home morning meditation with your favorite Yogi.
3. Go bold with influencer choices. The term micro-influencer – influencers who generate between 10K and 100K impressions per post – hit the scene in 2016 and has been a demand ever since. These everyday brand fans with niche social followings can be impactful to drive purchase and consumer action. However, there are so many of them and over time some niche topic areas like parenting and wellness are becoming over saturated.
Brand Takeaway: In 2018, brands should take a big, bold approach to non-traditional or unexpected influencers who are breaking through. These choices could be other brands, subject matter experts (SMEs), executives, and even the media as their partner. Finding influencers who can make an impact and distribute content to the right audience is increasingly more important than the influencer themselves.
4. It’s not all about impressions. As brands invest more into influencer marketing, the need to show their impact rises. In fact, making them a part of the purchase funnel was a huge evolution in 2017. Brands have been leveraging vanity URLs and custom coupon codes to track influencer efforts. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Amazon are making it easier to buy directly from social partners.
Brand Takeaway: The emphasis on driving results and showcasing the value of third-party partnerships will continue to be a focus in 2018. That means impressions cannot be the only metric to showcase results. While data availability is increasing, we’ve mostly relied on vanity metrics or the influencers themselves to provide results. Instead, find metrics that focus more on the impact of the consumer journey and align who and how the influencer is being used to drive awareness, advocacy or action. We know every brand has different objectives when using influencer marketing, so it’s important to align on a clear role and approach that will help tie back to the campaign goals.