It’s a brand new year! Can you believe it? Every January, we tend to reflect on all that the previous year held and anticipate what might come in the months ahead. No matter what area of life you apply this practice to, doing so allows us to measure success and optimize our strategy for the coming year.
So with that said, what can we learn from what we saw in the influencer marketing space in 2017? A lot… much more than we could squeeze into a blog post! But let’s look at a few of the top highlights:
INFLUENCER MARKETING IS CONTINUING TO SURGE:
According to Forbes, influencer marketing earned the second-highest ROI measurement (6.77) in 2016. In 2017, budgets allocated for influencer marketing were set to double as over 84% of marketers claim this tactic to be effective. As we previously stated this year in our “Best Influencer Campaigns of 2017 So Far” the industry is now a $1 billion-dollar market and will only continue to grow (expecting to reach an unprecedented $5-10 billion dollars by 2020.) Long story short? This industry grew massively and is only continuing to do so.
INFLUENCER ANALYTICS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE:
We’ve always known the importance of analytics (see our “Rocking Your Social Media Stats” blog here), but gone are the days when influencers can only deliver impressions or engagement metrics to brand partners after a campaign wraps. In addition to the sophistication of analytics tools on platforms like Instagram, in 2017, companies like Nielsen figured out ways to collect all sorts of data around the tone/ voice as well as detailed follower demographics of influencers. Kerry Press, U.S. director of social media for OMD confirms “Measurement capabilities of influencer networks are getting more and more sophisticated.” This is all good news for both brands and influencers to ensure that future partnerships can be proven to be a good fit.
A SHIFT TOWARD STORIES:
So much of influencer marketing has historically been focused on dedicated posts- regardless of the platform. In 2017, we saw the focus significantly shift to include stories. Snapchat pioneered this concept back in 2016, and this year both Instagram and Facebook followed suit. Given the tool’s popularity across multiple platforms, we’re seeing this become a larger part of how influencers are telling brand stories. On Instagram, this tool now offers several enhancements you can’t include in a standard post (i.e. polls, swipe up links, etc.) It’s also often described as a more “real life” or “behind the scenes” approach to how influencers share their lives, which can be lead to more credibility when promoting a brand.
So based on what we saw play out in 2017, what can we anticipate for 2018?
AN INCREASE IN LIVE STREAMING
Like Facebook did in 2015, Instagram rolled out a Live feature this last year, and we can expect both tools to grow in popularity in the months ahead. Deep Patel, founder of Owlmetrics shared that “Facebook Live and Instagram Live are quickly becoming powerful tools for brands and influencers to connect with their audiences. Unlike remanufactured content, Live establishes a genuine tone that powerfully appeals to the younger generations who are sick and tired of seeing “plastic” advertising.” This tool is commonly used for answering questions, hosting behind the scenes tours and sharing other relevant, real time content.
RISE OF MICRO-INFLUENCERS
“Bigger is better” doesn’t necessarily apply in the influencer space. According to Markerly, influencers with 10-100K followers (often called “micro-influencers) have the best chances of high engagement and relevant reach compared to influencers with more followers. We can anticipate brands to seek out micro-influencers for more campaigns to reach their niche audience (at a much more affordable price).
CRACKING DOWN ON AUTHENTICITY
The need for transparency was a huge theme this past year and will most certainly impact how marketers consider which influencers to work with in 2018. A study was conducted in which two fake Instagram accounts were created, purchased followers and likes, and shortly after secured brand endorsements. Brands are wising up to the ability to gain fake followers and the industry will continue to become less tolerant of inauthentic influencers.
MORE STRICT FTC REGULATIONS
According to socialfly, the FTC was reported to send over 90 letters per month to influencers, celebrities and brands in 2017 that didn’t properly disclose sponsored content. As influencer marketing becomes more popular, more strict regulations will follow. Influencers should ensure they closely follow FTC guidelines to avoid possible law suits.
While we can’t predict every industry trend that will come in 2018 (we’re an influencer agency, not fortune tellers!) we hope you found this recap to be helpful as you plan for the year ahead.
Looking to start the year off with a bang? Be sure to check out our opps board for a list of brand campaign opportunities!