Influencer marketing has been having a moment recently, however scepticism over follower authenticity and success measurability are some of the issues surrounding the marketing strategy. A new report produced by The Drum in partnership with influencer marketing platform Buzzoole looks at the current state of influencer marketing in the US and the UK, and aims to uncover the latest marketing trends in the sector as well as detailing the obstacles and investment opportunities available for marketers.
The Influencers: Have we reached a tipping point? report surveyed over 200 senior marketing professionals to provide an industry benchmark for approaching influencer marketing strategies. The world of influencer marketing has become increasingly convoluted as publishers, agencies and ad-tech companies all want in. And it’s easy to see why, because using influencers works. They’re capable of raising a brand’s awareness, improving engagement and promoting customer loyalty – proving the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Despite the popularity of influencer marketing, it still lacks integrity. Almost half of the marketers interviewed revealed that they wanted to see more transparency around influencers, citing particular challenges around measurement, fake followers and content control. Most marketers also thought influencer marketing could be better regulated.
The return and rise of the influencer
Influencer marketing has long been accepted as a marketing method thanks to the influencer’s ability to relate to and consequently influence their community. Thanks to the rise of the internet and the democratic power of social media, influencers have grown again in popularity.
No influencer infrastructure
Despite the popularity and profitability of influencer marketing, few companies have the correct infrastructure in place to support it, delegating it to the PR or marketing teams instead. Only one in ten companies have a dedicated team in-house to pursue influencer marketing strategies. Others claim that their small budgets mean they can’t fully invest in the strategy, revealing that influencer marketing isn’t a main point of focus for companies just yet, although there is plenty of scope for growth and investment as it’s an emerging channel for marketers.
Rules and regulations
Establishing more orthodox practices around influencer marketing would help to restore confidence in the strategy. As bad practices like fake followers, bots, fake engagement and dishonest business models affect how clients and agencies view implementing influencer marketing into their practice. Still, the market is young and continuing to grow so these issues are constantly being reviewed and resolved, so marketers shouldn’t be put off.
Working with the influencer
Even those that are working with influencers risk ruining the relationship as few marketers questioned felt that they fully trusted their influencers to create the content. Marc Mathieu, Samsung’s top US marketer, said that agencies should feel threatened by social influencers, as they work in almost direct competition with traditional marketers. But understanding the world of influencer marketing better could help. Authenticity is key for influencers, however marketers prefer to have final say on content and enjoy being able to double check posts before they go live, enabling influencers the autonomy to create what they like and marketers the opportunity to voice any concerns.
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