Read the influencer marketing trends you need to know
Instead of researching the trends for influencer marketing in 2018, I decided to go straight to the source and book in some time with our CEO and Co-Founder Danielle to get her tips, tricks and insights on what is trending this year in the influencer marketing space.
Read on for my chat with our very own #GirlBoss…
Let’s start with influencer marketing, what do you think the top trends in influencer marketing are?
Firstly, I believe the demand and value of influencer marketing will increase. Basically, the more people employ influencer marketing, the more brands will understand how valuable influencers and their content and audiences are to their marketing mix. Likewise, the demand will reinforce influencers’ understanding of how valuable their content is. With this demand, influencers should be able to charge more for their work. What you get out of a specific spend may decrease, or you may have to spend more to get the same results which is the case for any other marketing channel. Now, Facebook costs crazy amounts!
Fake followers are the next biggest trend. There are many people working on technology to determine fake followers and fake engagement. In regards to fake followers, our philosophy at Scrunch is based on different data points. You can look at follower growth; if a person all of a sudden obtains 10,000 new followers in one day, it could be a red flag. Not to say it doesn’t happen, though. You need to look at information like this in comparison with other data sets and also understand whether the person starred on television show recently or if they are in Vogue Magazine…A number of things can impact rapid and authentic follower growth, so keep that in mind too.
It could be legitimate?
It could be legit. You do have to take a few things with a grain of salt. We also look at the location of an influencer’s audience. If an influencer is a New York Fashion blogger, but 50% if their audience is from a country that seems a bit random to that influencer, then it is likely that they have purchased followers. Engagement is also a great indicator of fake followers. If they have 100,000 followers and are posting everyday but only receive 100 engagements on their content, then you could assume they have bot followers. Or, their followers aren’t interested in what they have to say anyway which is no good either. And fake engagement from engagement pods is also causing havoc, as it is hard to detect whether engagements are authentic or forced. An engagement pod is when a group gets to together and engages with each others content as part of the terms of being in the post, so it’s not genuine engagement. The reason they are doing this is because of the Instagram algorithm, where, if you get a lot of engagement when you post, Instagram will prioritize your content in the Newsfeed because they believe it is trending.
And this is new?
Yes. If all of your engagements are from people who are just trying to help you beat the algorithm, they aren’t going to buy your product, or the product that an influencer is promoting. They are just there to increase engagement on the post, and not actually engage with your brand or the influencer. They don’t genuinely care about the content in the post, so brands are just wasting their money when working with influencers who are in engagement pods.
I guess it’s something brands really need to look out for then…
Totally. We currently look at these points of data when we run campaigns and are continuing to build tech to make it easier for bands to identify illegitimate engagement on influencer content.
So what are the other trends markets should be aware of?
Transparency of data is the next trend. This basically means influencers will need to be very forthcoming with their stats if they want to continue working with brands. Influencer marketing is becoming more and more sophisticated and Scrunch is at the forefront of that shift by encouraging brands and marketers to use data when developing, executing and reporting on their influencer marketing campaigns. In the past , influencers have been engaged because of the quality of their content and their content aesthetic, however, without an understanding of their audience and important metrics about the influencer, it’s a blind investment. We’ve moved to a more data-driven approach to influencer marketing, and I truly encourage all marketers to do the same.
Finally, the importance of local disclosure laws and guidelines is a huge trend and we’re seeing it has become a critical element of all influencer campaign. Influencer marketing disclosure guidelines will continue to be enforced but in a more strict manner. People will be prosecuted if they don’t disclose the relationship between the influencer and the brand in their content. The first lawsuit in the United States has occurred over this issue. If you don’t know them already, you can read more about the USA disclosure guidelines here, and the Australian disclosure guidelines here.
I feel these days influencers get really creative with how they acknowledge ads. In fact, I have been reading their "creativity" has forced the FTC in the United States to deliver stricter guidelines.
It will be interesting. Now, Instagram has a special place for influencers to disclose a partnership with a brand.
KPI and ROI measurements are also very critical this year. In the past, people have been unsure how to measure influencer marketing. They have been getting away with a spray and pray approach to influencer marketing, but that won’t last much longer.
As influencer marketing continues to gain traction, bosses want to know the actual return they are getting for investments in influencer marketing, yet many don’t know how to measure their campaigns, which is a huge issue.
Is quality over quantity a good influencer marketing tactic?
Definitely! I feel that when you understand the data, you deposit the money into the channels that convert best. So many brands go for a mass approach to influencer marketing, but when this happens, we often see a drop in the quality of content. Our advice is always to go with quality influencers who produce quality content over quantity any day.
And now to the digital marketing space as a whole... Smart Insights conducted a survey over a period of a couple of years, asking companies which marketing trend will have the most commercial impact. Do you want to guess which one had the most votes?
Content because content is king!
You are very right. 20% of 850 votes said CONTENT marketing. This, of course, directly coincides with influencer marketing. Would you like to elaborate? Is there a particular type of content you have noticed that people love?
Yes, I am unsurprised. I feel people are trusting brands less and less these days which means they trust research, peers, and influencers. That is all content. This is why I love influencer marketing. There are so many ways to use it, and many brands aren’t great at creating their own content. Engaging influencers to do it for them is such a good strategy. In regard to which type of content people love, I feel it depends all on the vertical. Obviously, entertainment and authenticity win. And generally, the more personalized and authentic the content is, the better it will perform. I was actually looking at some statistics on viral videos. A lot of the time, the viral pieces of content are the ones that were created in sweatpants and with no makeup. It just happens.
You mentioned personalization… how important is personalization in influencer marketing?
I think it is crucial. It goes back to the quality over quantity debate and understanding who you are marketing to and making sure the message aligns both in the content, and who is distributing that content. In influencer marketing, it is the influencer, so it is important that the audience can relate to the influencer and their content, so it has to be a personalized approach.
In digital marketing as a whole, it is so easy to split test things and create multiple landing pages with the technology and tools that are available to marketers, so you don’t really have an excuse not to be personalize.
YouTube has surpassed Google Search as the most popular and used search engine. What does this mean for influencer marketing? Is video the new trend?
I think it will be. It isn’t quite there yet because video is so expensive. Since people are still dabbling in influencer marketing, people tend to start with smaller campaigns to test what works. It probably will. We are just on a bit of journey to get there.
How does big data impact influencer marketing?
For us, we believe data is everything. You should be utilizing data to understand your target audience, and then find influencers that speak to that audience.
So for everyone following along, how can they add influencer marketing into their marketing mix in 2018?
In the past, influencer marketing has been an isolated project. Brands would need ten influencers and ten posts, but they weren’t thinking of this requirement as part of their marketing mix. What I am observing now is brands which have tested the waters are now trying to incorporate it into their marketing strategy. Yes, let’s work with those ten followers and use their posts, but let’s also re-target their audiences, repurpose the content and amplify the campaign to extend the life of your influencer marketing efforts.
Never before has an interview with the boss been so much fun! As much as we want to provide a service, we also want to educate. You should join the conversation! As a consumer, influencer, or a brand, these trends are important for you to consider. For more on influencer marketing, jump over to our blog.