From the evolving world of artificial intelligence to expectations of instant communications, consumers seeking the value of a product offer marketers more opportunities to make inroads in 2017.
Based on research and work with over 350 national brands last year, Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Influence-Central showcased the top ten trends in influencer marketing this year, with an emphasis on videos, the search for authenticity and a good story.
1. Demonstration videos are key
More than ever, bringing the power of influencer content is being narrowed down to quick 15-second demonstration videos that inspire a consumer to purchase. DeBroff notes that influencers must incorporate in-store and on-shelf digital displays to bring to life the multiple ways consumers can find value in the product.
2. Geo-targeting to take root
Further, as more brands look for ways to drive in-store purchases, geo-targeting for influencers will become more prevalent, DeBroff predicts. The targeting won’t be limited to where the influencer lives, but rather where their audience lives – shifting the definition of “local influencer.” Higher conversion rates for coupon redemptions and other promotional offers will become more the norm, Influencer predicts.
3. Mobile will be the most valued shopping partner
Additionally, with the emergence of a new “electronics evolution” – innovative technology and apps for the mobile phones must offer up smarter, faster, and more intuitive information. Mobile devices will emerge as a shoppers’ most valued shopping partner, as consumers check them throughout the trip for recommendations from their network of trusted advisors – fact-checking product attributes and using online coupons.
4. Social media will lean towards stories over snaps
Social media will see a shift in sharing from Snapchat to Instagram stories, Influencer predicts. While Snapchat is certainly influential, social media influencers are seeing more celebrities and influencers using Instagram ‘stories’ when working with brands and building an audience through this unique glimpse into the lives of celebrities. Brands will want to harness more of this, DeBroff asserts, so “expect to see more Instagram campaigns in 2017.”
5. Calls to action, memes and gifs will increase
While memes and gifs will continue to become content that brands want influencers to create because of their virality, incorporating calls to action will be critical to making sure brands capitalize on this format.
"Top-tier online influencers and content creators will continue to break down the walls to mainstream media and release content (books, TV shows, movies, music, etc.) through more traditional platforms. While this is an opportunity for the influencers to diversify their revenue streams, brands will also find opportunities in sponsoring launches and related events along with native advertising," notes DeBroff.
6. Authenticity will be called into question
While the seemingly overnight success of some influencers will become tempting for many to do the same, the authenticity of influencer content will be called into question more often. As a result, those who stay true to their audiences by focusing on providing value and inspiration while balancing sponsorships and promotions effectively will rise to the top and command premium compensation rates.
Further, as seen with well-known beauty brands – bloggers, social influencers, vloggers, etc., will be tapped for larger partnerships and spokesperson roles that were exclusive only to A-listers before.
7. Niche Expertise will increase in importance
DeBroff notes that we have increasingly come to rely not just on curated information, but on the people we most trust to curate this information for us in a way that resonates with our lifestyle, interests, and values. In 2017, consumers will be on a mission to find peer specialists with niche expertise to filter recommendations that meet their needs in a customized way.”
8. Influencer Marketing as a Fundamental Brand Strategy
Many brands now recognize Influencer Marketing as the industry’s hot “go-to” strategy, but they struggle on how best to leverage it and measure it from the perspective of business results and attribution modeling. “As we head into 2017, influencers will entrench as defining voices in consumer marketing, as brands concede advertising control and look to passionate brand advocates to sway consumers on social media,” says DeBroff.
9. Attention spans continue to decline
Attention spans will continue to decrease as more brands boost their influencer marketing efforts, the article notes. To meet this challenge, pairing short-form video content that is easy to share anchored with visually driven blog posts that are evergreen and search engine friendly ensures the broadest reach for recommendations and advocacy, the article notes.
10. Influencers look to AI and other developments
A.I. solutions point to a brave new world. As our personal and professional lives grow more complex, 2017 will be the year we’ll look to artificial intelligence to lend a helping hand. More and more start-up brands, as well as data analytics, will identify A.I. solutions as a way for consumers to navigate in an increasingly complex world, DeBroff said.
As consumers seek to learn more about new products on their own time, expect continued resentment over intrusive marketing to deepen in 2017. Consumers will continue to vote with their feet … “walking” away from social platforms that inundate them with brand marketing,” DeBroff notes. Similarly, the tone and content of ads needs to be geared to the new Gen Z paradigm: fast, smart, sassy, and relevant, the article states.