Once upon a time, the influencer marketing platform was relegated to celebrities, wealthy socialites, and a few select bloggers. Now, influencer marketing has become a very big part of digital marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Sprout Social probably gives the best, and most simplistic explanation of what influencer marketing is. “Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that relies on endorsements and product mentions” from individuals with large, dedicated social media followings who are “viewed as experts within their niche.”
Still, with influencer marketing having become so popular, it’s become sort of a Wild, Wild West”-like territory that is in desperate need of cleanup.
Influencer marketing had its fair share of controversy, especially from 2017 to 2019 with beauty influencer battles, influencer scams on Instagram, racism, and vegan-cheating. It’s no wonder there seems to be some influencer fatigue. That doesn’t mean influencer marketing is dead.
On the contrary, influencer marketing is projected to double in 2020, with a $15 billion market by 2022. And more brands are investing in social media influencers, hoping to reach more customers.
Here are the influencer marketing trends that will continue to evolve in 2020.
As influencer marketing continues to receive much-need regulations, professionalizing, and standardizing of practices, it continues to grow into a trustworthy tactic in digital marketing strategies of top brand marketers.
Normalization of paid social amplification will persist.
Paid social amplification is the strategy of using learning about the social media habits of buyers and using that information to deliver content to those buyers across a multitude of networks. It’s become a very important aspect of digital marketing. What it does is deliver the media metrics that brands are accustomed to seeing, working with social media platforms.
Paid amplification is already the norm in influencer campaigns because it increases the levels of control for audience targeting, increases the brand’s reach, and provides concentrated reporting and transparency.
Measuring success will continue to move beyond influencer follower count.
Having a lot of followers on social media is not an indicator of being an influencer, as we’ve seen people are able to garner fake followers or will have a lot of followers with little to no follower engagement.
Marketers are now looking for verifiable campaign metrics like actual impressions, video views delivered, audience demographics, and having a unique reach. In 2020, be on the lookout for more brands and their partners to measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing through conversions, brand uplift, sales lift reports, and creative analysis.
Campaign briefs will remain the foundation of measuring influencer marketing success.
One of the biggest blunders influencer marketing encounters is what messages are being published. On one end of the spectrum, brands will not relinquish enough creative control to the influencer. And on the other end of the spectrum, a brand could give over too much creative control.
Many brands tend to be reluctant to give too much creative freedom to influencers, and for good reason. But this can result in content making little to no sense for the influencer nor their audience.
Then, you have brands will give an influencer too much creative control, allowing them to create a popular piece, but not quite delivering the appropriate message and impact on behalf of the brand.
This is why campaign briefs are essential in taming the wilds of influencer marketing. Briefs help create balance, helping brands to see exciting creative production capabilities from their influencers. A solid brief will usher in the ability to localize global concepts and understand the mindset of diverse communities and cultures while maintaining the integrity of the message.
This allows for marketers more harmoniously match brands to influencers, create more authentic work, and birth more influencer produced projects that can power other campaigns.
More long-term partnerships between suitably matched brands and influencers.
Because social influencers continue to become increasingly meaningful avenues for brands, we will see more brands foster long-term relationships with influencers. Brands are seeing so many benefits from influencer marketing, including authenticity in advocating for their products or services. The influencers see the benefits to their relationship in generating income and continuous collaboration with a brand they believe in.
We will even see more brands and influencers co-creating products or even ushering in new brands.
Influencer marketing will see improved processes for accountability.
While influencer marketing continues to evolve, it is still plagued with transparency issues. Some of those issues include fraudulent audiences, bot accounts, undisclosed brand collaborations, and manipulated results blurring the lines between paid and organic reach.
There will always be people looking to scam others, making eradicating these issues a problem. But, with the advances in technology, data, and education, influencer marketing is seeing a more informed and accountable process.
Marketing and data specialists are working hard to whip influencer marketing into tip-top shape. We’ve already seen tremendous strides in raising the standards of operation and engagement. There is no doubt influencer marketing will be a vital aspect of digital marketing for a very long time.