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CEO Confidential

Influencer Marketing And Its Rise To Multi-Billion Dollar Status

Influencer marketing is on pace to become a multi-billion dollar industry by 2020. It’s not a passing fad. Influencers aren’t just models who promote diet teas. It’s an entire industry that allows brands to reach engaged audiences in visual and relatable ways. The authenticity and personal nature of influencer campaigns are just one of the reasons for its upcoming growth in 2019 and beyond. C-suite executives and their marketing teams shouldn’t overlook influencer marketing. They should dive in headfirst in order to reinvigorate their brands and reach new customer segments in engaging fashion.

In the U.S., another sign of influencer market growth is the increase in regulation. The FTC oversees advertising standards and has boosted its communications to influencers and brands. The FTC’s goal is to ensure there’s transparency with influencer campaigns so they are clearly presented as sponsored deals. It should help consumer trust with influencer marketing. It’s another sign of a maturing market, one that needs standards and best practices to further its growth and legitimacy.

Influencer marketing is on pace to become a multi-billion dollar industry by 2020. It’s not a passing fad. Influencers aren’t just models who promote diet teas. It’s an industry that allows brands to reach engaged audiences in visual, trusted and relatable ways. The authenticity and personal nature of influencer campaigns are just one of the reasons for its upcoming growth in 2019 and beyond. C-suite executives and their marketing teams shouldn’t overlook influencer marketing. They should dive in headfirst in order to reinvigorate their brands and reach new customer segments in an engaging fashion.

The Importance of Authentic and Relatable Personalities

Influencer marketing presents brands with an opportunity to split up their budget among different types of people and audiences. So instead of picking a leading movie star and spending $30 million on a deal, brands instead use that money across a variety of middle-tier influencers. They’re able to cast a wider net and gain some viral attention. It’s a direct line into the culture. The key for brand leaders is to pick authentic and relatable influencers. Of course many influencers are going to be expensive and hard to work with, but they’re still likely to be exponentially more effective than a pop star.

Some brands are seeing success with “micro” and even “nano” influencers. For example, the incredibly popular La Croix encouraged people to offer their own La Croix-infused cocktails on their social channels. They leveraged many influencers in a broad campaign to pair their water with cocktails with authentic and visually captivating ways. Many of these influencers were rewarded with cases of the product, as their follower count didn’t warrant cash. Such a dynamic creates a simple win-win for both the brand and the influencer. The brand gains exposure and the influencer builds credibility through a sponsorship with a major product. Someone with only 5,000 followers on Instagram is certainly not a “star”, but for brands looking for real connections, they can be the perfect match. These influencers have more capability to respond to their followers directly, and their sponsorships are tailored expertly to the right audiences.

The influencers themselves are benefiting from sponsorships and growth. The benefits come not just monetarily, but in opportunities. Prominent influencers are moving into e-commerce through clothing or makeup lines, expanding to YouTube content, and taking other steps to solidify a career. Brands should rejoice at these influencer expansions. They present brands with a growing and more diverse audience that’s active on multiple channels.

Quality influencer marketing agencies are important because they’ve put in the research to find the right influencers for certain brands. They understand audience demographics and the latest trends, and are building relationships with reliable influencers who know how to present products and experiences. Marketers will need this expertise to navigate the thousands of viable influencer candidates. For example, agencies understand that audiences don’t always resemble the actual influencer. Meaning a bikini model’s fans will include a lot of men, not just women looking for the latest swimsuit. This is a great example of why the automation of influencer sourcing is failing. As brands are better matched to the right influencers, they’ll see more value in such campaigns and look to broaden their engagements further.

Deeper Analytics Driving Growth

As the market matures and brands want to see more transparency, they’ll also demand better and more in-depth metrics. Marketers not only want to understand how influencers engage with their followers, but they also want data on the types of followers. Understanding the dynamics between influencer and follower is key. Brands want to be sure that they’re paying not just for access to 200,000 followers but to reach an engaged audience that’s more likely to take action.

The industry leaders in influencer marketing are bringing clients dashboards filled with analytics. This allows brands to begin conducting “apples to apples” comparisons between influencer-based campaigns versus other traditional marketing. Analytics now available include counts of cross-channel engagements, hashtag analyses, audience demographics, watch times, click-through rates, comments, and even impression data. These details can determine if an influencer’s followers are organic, and eliminate them from future sponsorship opportunities if they are found to be using fake or purchased followers.

Access to analytics will push marketing and brand managers that are “on the fence” about influencer marketing to at least give it a try. They will be encouraged by leading influencer marketing agencies, like Viral Nation, that essentially guarantee quality fan interactions and determine ROI in advance. And this will provide marketers’ C-level bosses with reassurances that budgets are being well spent.


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Joe Gagliese
Joe Gagliese is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Viral Nation, one of North America’s fastest growing digital agencies specializing in influencer marketing. He created the social-first agency to help brands tell engaging social media stories through an amazingly eclectic network of influencers. Through his passion and determination he has developed deals with numerous Fortune 500 brands and more than 300 social influencers from the worlds of sports, gaming, and lifestyle. A 30 Under 30 winner for Marketing Magazine, Gagliese is frequently quoted in the press for his take on influencer marketing and social strategies.