Influencers have always been a tool within traditional advertising, now the rise of social platforms has seen the popularity of them significantly increase in the content marketing toolbox, and with good reason. With purchase now only a click away, the right endorsement from the right person can change a brand’s fortunes overnight. In this episode, we’re looking at the changing world of influencers.
Is it just me, or does it feel like Influencer marketing has really grown up this year? We seem to have gotten over the novelty factor and are now using the channel much more thoughtfully. Still, I was surprised to read that the global influencer market is now worth an estimated $1 billion and is expected to double in the next 12 months. But then again, Kylie Jenner makes an estimated US$1 million per sponsored post on Instagram, so yeah, this is probably worth exploring.
What we’re seeing
One of the more noticeable shifts is the increasing use of micro-influencers. These are people with extremely specialised interests and follower counts of less than 10,000 which, weirdly, is where the value is. In a recent study by Ad Age, they found that as follower counts go down, engagement goes up. They feel more connected when they’re one of 23 commenters as opposed to one of 23,000.
The other big shift is that you don’t have to be rolling out an ‘influencer campaign’ in order to warrant using influencers. Micro-influencers are a handy tool to amplify and seed campaigns of any sort. The only trade-off is reach. Obviously, they have less of it which means you need to use more of them, and that’s when you’re going to want the help of an influencer agency.
What you need to know
Watch out for influencer fraud. Unilever's chief marketing officer Keith Weed brought this issue to the fore in Cannes this year when he called for urgent action against any influencer found to be buying followers or clicks. This is another reason to use an agency. We work a lot with our pals at The Social Club who arrange for signed contracts and declarations with all of their influencers ahead of every campaign. They also engage them through a proprietary platform that ensures transparent reporting.
What we’re thinking
While the Influencer space is maturing, it’s also still pretty young and evolving in fascinating ways. One of my favourites is the recent trend toward CGI influencers. Lil Miquela is a fully CGI rendered, 19-year-old robot from LA. Her 1.3 million followers heart and comment on her highly enviable non-existence as if she were any other Instagram celebrity, mainly due to the restraint of her creators, who despite having the ability to shop her into any scene imaginable, instead opt for mirror selfies and pictures of her breakfast. It’s all very... grammy.