Influencer Marketing 〰️
Type ‘influencer marketing’ into Google or the search function of any social media channel and you may quickly disappear into a rabbit hole of content. Why is influencer marketing such a hot topic in 2022? And when did ‘influencer marketing’ move beyond exclusive brand-relationships between a few key bloggers and celebrities? Fast forward through a decade or so of influencer marketing to today, and it’s clear that we now need to include any individual on social media with a high follower count, and any media personality with a niche or relatable area of expertise in our influencer marketing descriptions.
Because influencer marketing has been around for more than a decade, it’s no longer the ‘hot new thing’. But in very recent years, not a single month passes by without heated debate around influencers, what they do, whether they add value and questions being asked about regulation.
Google will return at least five or six News items every day that you search for ‘influencer marketing’. And if news is breaking – such as an influencer failing to disclose a brand partnership, or yet more discussion about greater regulation – then there will easily be a dozen or more stories repeating pretty much the same words and spokespeople.
So what is influencer marketing?
How do we explain it to someone who isn’t familiar with social media or digital channels and advertising?
At a fundamental level, influencer marketing is when brands make use of social media channels by using endorsements and product mentions from a specified individual to increase brand awareness or encourage audience engagement.
Endorsement and original content as provided by the influencer becomes part of a sales funnel strategy that works across multiple digital channels. Influencer success is traditionally measured in CPM (cost per thousand impressions of the brand name or product) but with improved analytics and in-app shopping behaviours and insights, the trend is moving more towards matching campaigns more closely with sales, or other actions, like newsletter registration or sharing personal information, such as recent purchases or dress size.
Who works with influencers and where do we find this content?
Social media channels such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are all used by brands to distribute original content. Often, this is in the form of videos, Reels or Stories because this active digital content captivates a browsing audience more easily.
More niche platforms such as gaming platform Twitch and parenting portal MumsNet have also been chosen by brands – or the UK government or charities – as platforms to communicate a message, via distributed content endorsed by influencers.
The use of these portals to communicate an important message via an influencer is really interesting development as the end game here is engagement or sharing of personal belief or opinion, not sales.
Still not convinced that influencer marketing is a ‘thing?’ or wondering if the important consumer groups of young adults even pays attention to branded social media content? We think that UK universities have recognised the importance of communicating their brand messages this way, with UCAS publishing its first guide to using influencer marketing in 2020, is a good barometer. Although the UCAS example is particularly interesting because universities are being encouraged to diversify their content and target parents and students in different ways and on different platforms. Sensible, huh?
Are influencers valid in 2022?
Yes! Of course, they are! Influencers are individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. The cost of using influencers can be far less than cross-channel advertising campaigns and, because of the close community feel of the platforms many brands choose to use, engagement and sales can outperform other traditional channels such as out-of-home or TV advertising.
Fashion for example is one of the retail sectors that makes the most consistent (and creatively exciting) use of influencers. In 2021 brands allocated c30% of their advertising budget to influencer marketing and the global market in fashion alone is predicted to reach $12.4 billion by 2027. This report on influencer marketing from Fashion Discounts UK is detailed but easy to read if you want to dig deeper into this specific area.
With this in mind, let’s dig deeper into the trends we can expect for 2022 and those that we’re seeing already. Take a look at the Top 3 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022 on SocialDay here.