Influencer marketing has been recognized the fastest growing online marketing channel. In a survey conducted by Tomoson, 22% marketers agreed that influencer marketing was the fastest growing online customer acquisition model. Almost 60% are planning to increase their budget allocation for influencer marketing and 70% are seeing higher returns on their investments.
The future really looks bright for this form of marketing and influencers will continue to grow in stature, importance and influence as people look for more diversified, authentic content and turn reticent towards disruptive forms of marketing. However, with growing popularity and bigger budgets, the field will become more competitive and complex. The effectiveness of paid influencer campaigns may decline at some point and marketers and consumers will look for better engagement and domain expertise than popularity alone in choosing and trusting an influencer.
Prediction of future influencer marketing trends
1. Micro-influencers will wield enormous influence: Micro-influencers are influencers who are people with a social media following of not more than 100,000 usually. The follower count varies between 5000 and 100,000 and they are usually bloggers, CEOs, experts and pundits whose voice is heard and is respected for their erudition and understanding of a particular domain. More and more brands will look to harness their services as they often lead strong engagement campaigns. Their niche audience usually follows their content closely and social indicators would suggest that they trust them more than a “celebrity” per se on a number of issues. Hence, the complete reliance on celebrities would reduce and better influencer management and identification tools would allow brands to identity the best influencers for a particular campaign and formulate a well rounded strategy with a team of influencers of different sizes and skills.
2. The power middle will call the shots: Like micro-influencers, the power middle is a group of influencers who usually have a follower count between 100,000 and 1 million but the followers are bound in a strong community feeling and are extremely attached to the influencer. These influencers may be easier to deal with and also find. The influencer marketing campaigns can be rapidly scaled using the power middle although the cost of investment may increase rapidly as they realize their worth. Targeting likely customers would be easier because these influencers are known to dish out unique, incisive and informative content and also known for their integrity and so their intentions will be rarely questioned, if at all.
3. Employee advocates could soon become influencers: Companies would start investing more on their employee advocacy programs along with their brand advocacy programs because employees are often the biggest and most genuine brand representatives and since the welfare and prestige of a brand is often directly linked to the wellbeing of the employees, they are often enthusiastic participants. Consumers on the other hand would trust them because they would be privy to certain information that others won’t have and they can also put rest to consumers or clarify the stand of the organization on certain issues of critical importance.
4. A better cross-channel system of measurement: Brands and influencers will need to take a multichannel approach to increase their reach. Measuring apparatus available now to measure the influence of these influencers, delivering content across multiple channels, are grossly unsuitable. Hence, a better system of measurement will probably be invented that will allow accurate calculation of an influencer’s score across multiple channel. The system will reflect the differences that would occur due to the nature of the campaign, the channel used, the intrinsic difference in comfort level of an influencer when communicating across a channel vis-à-vis another.
Although the specific nature of developments may vary somewhat from today’s predictions, that influencer marketing is slowly emerging as the most potent marketing tool, is hard to refute. With carefully designed campaigns and better coordination between brands and influencers, the reach will increase manifold in the coming days.