As concern about ad blocking is spreading and the need for message authenticity is rising marketers are eager to partner with influencers to grow brand awareness and reach new audiences. To find out more about these and other trends playing in the current influencer marketing landscape, blog monitoring platform Bloglovin’ conducted a survey among 100 US marketing professionals in February of this year.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing uses creative individuals or thought-leader types, preferably with large social media followings, to drive brand messages to their respective audiences. By developing lasting relationships with these influencers, marketers can realize increased brand awareness, generate sales and boost website traffic. Influencer marketing often goes hand-in-hand with social media marketing and content marketing.
Why Is Influencer Marketing Important?
Marketers are increasingly concerned about the threat ad blocking poses to their ability to reach their target audiences via traditional display advertising. As a result, they are making a conscious effort to switch to less intrusive advertising practices such as influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is also an effective way for marketers to drive brand awareness through various social media platforms, grow their own social media accounts and reach more targeted niche audiences. In addition, influencer marketing campaigns typically achieve higher average engagement rates than paid media and “owned media” alternatives. Full infographic at the end of the post.
Influencer Marketing Objectives
The Bloglovin’ survey data revealed that growing brand awareness (76%) and reaching new audiences (71%) were the primary reasons why marketers were turning to influencer marketing. In addition, more than half (54%) of marketers participating in the survey said they use influencer marketing to grow their social media following and engagement, 53% said they use the practice to generate sales and 49% used influencers to create and distribute content. 47% and 31% of marketers indicated they used influencer marketing to drive more website traffic and increase SEO value, respectively.
The first important step in recruiting influencers for influencer marketing campaigns is to develop a profile of the ideal influencer, including age, gender, location, business focus and average audience size, and use this to identify the appropriate influencers. The Bloglovin’ survey data points out that 59% of marketers found influencers by reaching out to them directly, while slightly more than one-third (34%) used technology platforms to source and evaluate influencers for campaigns. Influencers (35) also reached out to marketers for influencer marketing work and partnerships directly.
Influencer Selection Criteria
Various considerations go into picking the best influencers for an influencer marketing campaign. Contrary to what some believe, influencers with the most followers aren’t necessarily the best fit for every campaign. Some brands have seen more success with micro-influencers that have between 10,000 and 250,000 followers than with high paid celebrities or thought-leader types because they allow them to target niche audiences and achieve higher engagement rates.
Three-fourths of marketers polled by Bloglovin’ revealed that quality and authenticity of influencer-generated content is a top consideration for marketers when picking influencers for marketing campaigns. Additionally, audience size and social following (70%), engagement (64%), the cost of the influencers (56%), and overall aesthetics (53%) were also important.
Average Number Of Influencers Per Campaign
Marketers know that they have to work with a range of influencers across multiple social media platforms to reach a large target audience. According to the Bloglovin’ survey, 54% of marketers engaged, on average, 5+ influencers per campaign.
Average Number Of Platforms Per Campaign
Working with influencers on the distribution of content across multiple blogs and social media platforms provides marketers with a wide range of consumer touchpoints and larger reach. Bloglovin’ found that over 74% of marketers distributed content for influencer marketing campaigns across 3 or more platforms.
Top Social Platforms For Influencer Marketing
The Bloglovin’ survey showed that Instagram is the top social media platform for influencer marketing with over 90% of survey participants saying they had used the platform for marketing campaigns. Facebook (80%), Twitter (75%), and Blogs (73%) also ranked high on the social platform preference list, while YouTube (54%), Pinterest (33%), and SnapChat (32%) were also actively used to execute influencer marketing campaigns. Instagram also emerged as the clear winner in a survey conducted, among 268 US influencers with an average reach of 259,000, by influencer marketing automation firm TapInfluence, in November of 2016.
Measuring Influencer Marketing ROI
As influencer marketing is evolving from an experimental marketing effort to a proven technique, marketers need to start keeping track of what works and what doesn’t work. But many marketers have discovered that tracking the effect of influencer social media posts beyond vanity metrics like views, likes shares and comments can be challenging. eMarketer recently listed several important reasons why measurement should be a priority for marketers in 2017. They highlighted rising campaign cost and increasing campaign complexity and accountability for reasons to better understand campaign performance.
Most Effective Influencer Marketing Tactics
As influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity for marketers, various tactics have proven to be more effective than others. A recent study by TapInfluence and the Altimeter Group found that, according to nearly 71% of the 102 marketers they surveyed, using social influencers for ongoing ambassadorships is the most effective influencer marketing tactic. Product reviews came in second with 66% of the respondents finding them worthwhile, followed by brand mentions (54%), event coverage (53%), sponsored content (50%) and affiliate links (11%).
Repurposing Influencer Content
Many marketers have been stretching their ad dollars by repurposing and redistributing influencer content after a campaign had ended. Bloglovin’ found that 83% of marketers reused content created for influencer marketing campaigns. More than 7 in 10 (74%) revealed they repurposed influencer content on their own social channels and nearly half (46%) indicated they did so on their owned and operated sites.
Nearly half of influencer marketers surveyed by influencer marketing platform GroupHigh, in November of 2016, expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation they receive for work they perform on influencer marketing campaigns. A staggering 70% said they prefer to be compensated in cash and were less willing to accept compensation in the form of free products or vacations.
Spending Per Influencer Campaign
More than one-third of marketers were spending less than $5K per influencer marketing campaign, according to BlogLovin’. But this budget may increase significantly when marketers begin to execute larger campaigns, with more influencers and content distribution across multiple social media platforms. 40% of marketers participating in the BlogLovin’ survey reported they spent between $5K and $25K on each influencer campaign they execute.
When influencer marketing campaigns grow working with influencers becomes very time-consuming. To constrain the rising campaign cost marketers should consider using an influencer marketing automation platform that can help with streamlining influencer recruitment, content and campaign management, analysis and reporting.
Percentage Of Marketing Budget Spent On Influencer Marketing
BlogLovin’ asked marketers what percentage of their overall marketing budget they allocate to influencer marketing. Among the 100 marketers, they polled the majority (41%) said they were spending less than 5% on influencer marketing, while 43% said they spent between 5% and 20% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing.
Expected Increase Influencer Marketing Budgets
Marketers know that influencer marketing is here to stay and are making it part of their overall marketing strategy. Slightly fewer two-thirds (63%) of influencer marketers, according to the BlogLovin’ survey, said they are planning plan to ramp up their budgets for influencer marketing in 2017. 44% intend to raise their budget to 24% of their overall marketing budget, while 9% said they will boost their spending by between 25 – 49%. More than one-third (37%) said they do not intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2017.