Influencer marketing has expanded exponentially over the past several years, it's now four times its size it was two years ago.
The success of influencer marketing has occurred mostly because of the value it's shown as a marketing tactic.
Brands began to expand their influencer contacts to ones outside of their own industries. Meaning that just because a brand operated in the food industry didn't mean it had to stick to “foodie” influencers, might engage fitness bloggers, mommy bloggers or even travel bloggers.
Influencer marketing budgets will increase
We know that social media content has had a huge impact on the customer’s overall path to purchase. According to Forrester, the average consumer engages with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase. As such, a clear opportunity for influencer marketing exists, to make an impact throughout the customer journey.
Influencer marketing can be instrumental for the inspiration phase of that journey, when influencers expose audiences to new products or services. Influencers can also sway audiences during the consideration phase, through educational content like tutorials.
They can be useful again, during the purchase/decision phase, by leveraging influencer content for retargeting ads, and incorporating promotions. Given the possibilities that influencer content poses, marketers are starting to set aside a larger proportion of their budget to carry out these impactful engagements.
An important consideration here is how traditional advertising and marketing spends like Google Ads are becoming less effective, due to the growing popularity of ad blockers.
As a result, marketers are increasingly turning their efforts to social media, whether through direct spend with the major social platforms or through key tastemakers on those platforms, the influencers.
Brands and influencers will foster long-term relationships
One of the major ways that influencer marketing campaigns will evolve in 2018 is the relationship between brands and influencers. Genuine reciprocal relationships, where there is mutual respect and trust between the brand and influencer, are becoming increasingly important.
Influencers have unique leverage across social media to source direct consumer feedback through their engagement data, comments and Instagram polls across different types of content to see what resonates best with key audiences.
In addition, marketers are coming to realize that micro-influencers can create incredible content, and drive significantly stronger engagement than mega-influencers can.
So, the upshot for 2018 is the combination of marketers’ growing acceptance of micro-influencers, together with the emergence of technology platforms that create efficiencies in working with a large set of influencers.
The result is that we will see the industry begin to shift into a more effective marketplace, making it easier for new brands to engage in influencer marketing.