Top 5 Influencer Marketing Trends for Brands in 2019
Influencer marketing investments by brands in the US are expected to top $2 billion in 2019, but it’s not a new space. What trends do we see in influencer marketing as this decade-old industry starts to mature?
1) Influencer “Reach” Is a Fading Metric
When influencer marketing relies solely on an influencer reaching their audience, how big that audience is would seem to be very important. But organic reach on social networks has plunged. A given tweet, for example, reaches only about 3.5% of an influencer’s audience.
In our programs for consumer brands, we see that “mega” influencers with the largest following often perform worse than “micro” or “macro” influencers, both in terms of total reach and total engagements. How? They have a smaller, but a much more actively engaged following.
2) Not All Content Is Equally Valuable
We’ve also seen in over 150 completed programs that, consistently, some 20-25% of the content produced by influencers dramatically outperforms the rest. Given this, brands need a way to score, in real time, each piece of influencer content and then elevate the rest.
3) Ongoing Relationships Work
As brands have dabbled in influencer marketing, trying campaigns that last 30-45 days is common. What we’ve seen, however, is that brands who begin to use ambassador programs (6- to 12-month programs using the same influencers repeatedly) drive better results.
For one greeting card company, for example, we saw a 400% increase in engagement rate from the first program to the last. Why? Both the influencer and their audience got used to this brand being a regular part of the influencer’s narrative.
4) Brands Need to Figure Out How Much to Pay
Today, brands are struggling with how much to pay influencers. We’ve seen brands pay 5x more than they needed to on one extreme and brands expecting influencers to work for free on the other. There’s actually a formula for calculating what to pay an influencer. Brands need to start using it.
5) Measurement is Getting More Impressive
Any time an influencer marketing company says they are measuring their campaign on “max potential impressions,” it’s time to get a new partner. Not only are impressions among the softest of business metrics, but “max potential impressions” aren’t even real. They are typically inflated by roughly 10x.
Sophisticated influencer marketing programs are now measuring sales. But when you can’t, there are still 25 ways to measure influencer marketing. As investment becomes significant, so should measurement.