2018 will be the year of Influencer Marketing. A minor channel just a few years ago, it is now an essential component for any multi-channel marketing campaign. Beyond its growing popularity, what are the trends that will shape this channel apart from this year? We take a look at the situation.
New performance requirements
The main objective of Influencer Marketing was for a long time was brand image and notoriety. A laudable and strategic goal, but difficult to measure.
Influencer Marketing must now justify the growing share of the marketing budget it takes up. What is the return on investment? The challenge for influencers will be to remain authentic while including an effective call to action, with a tracked link (UTM parameters minimum). A discount code is another effective solution; by associating a specific code to each influencer, it is possible for the brand to associate the revenue generated by each of them, and compare them.
This is a positive trend as these measures generally confirm the effectiveness of Influencer Marketing and thus increase the resources allocated to it.
Mega Micro Macro: integration of all profiles
For a long time, brands have contented themselves with blitz operations with “mega-influencers”, most often followed by millions of subscribers. However, multiple experiments carried out in 2017 have shown that the “micro-influencers” – less than 100,000 subscribers or less than 10,000 unique visitors—bring much higher engagement rates, of the order of +60%. However, it is necessary to work with more micro-influencers to reach the same volume of audience than with a single mega one. But the final cost is much more reasonable, resulting in a much higher return on investment.
As such there will be multiple campaigns with media and profiles of average influence, who enjoy a more engaged audience, and whose recommendations are better received.
Long term relationships
With the ability to measure the engagement and return on investment of each campaign with an influencer, brands identify the most successful profiles and media. They then have every interest in building a lasting relationship with them, and making them Brand Ambassadors.
Better still, the authenticity of the recommendation will be reinforced if the influencer covers the same brand’s offers several times a year. Likewise, that will prevent the popularity of the influencer from benefiting another brand. Remember to include a non-compete clause!
Use of integrated tools
With the increase in the budget, the need to measure performance, the use of micro-influencers, and the establishment of long-term relationships; marketers must professionalize their approach and use external tools to handle these new challenges well.
On the social network side, brands can count on tools like Onalytica, Traackr or BuzzSumo. With blogs, it can be harder to identify the most reliable partners. As a result, brands are turning more and more to centralized platforms. An intermediary like getfluence.com references 2000 sites, ensures a win-win partnership between advertiser and influential media, and checks on the respect of deadlines.
Influencer Marketing has largely been confined to the B2C sphere so far. This year, B2B Marketing will be increasingly interested in opportunities related to this very profitable channel.
If B2C operates often Instagram, B2B will have to look to Linkedin, but also, in particular, specialized blogs. Influence Marketing will be integrated into lead generation campaigns. The influencers’ content will redirect to landing pages including email address capture modules. It is up to the B2B marketer to send content and attractive offers to previously captured email addresses, and to observe the conversion rate of these new contacts.
Transparency and regulation
Practices have not always been transparent, but with Influencer Marketing becoming more professional, transparency is becoming a must.
On Instagram, the platform can indicate a “partnership” with a brand. On their side, blogs must clearly differentiate a standard article from a sponsored one. Beyond a question of ethics, it is indeed the law. In France, for example, Article 20 of the law of 21 June 2004, on trust in the digital economy states: “Are considered misleading [… ] commercial practices which have as object [… ] the use of editorial content in the media to promote a product or service when the company has funded the promotion itself, without clearly indicating it in the content or with the help of images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer. “
In the US, the FTC regulates the sector. The rules are however more flexible, a simple hashtag with the name of the brand can be enough…