2015 was a busy year for the influencer marketing world, which is poised to burgeon into a multi-billion dollar business. As the social space gets increasingly crowded and brands face growing competition in attracting user attention, teaming up with influential digital creatives has become an essential component to the marketing playbook of today’s savvy advertisers. Here are seven important influencer marketing industry highlights from 2015:
1. Influencer Marketing At A Tipping Point?
According to a study from Augure, 75 percent of marketers are working with influencers, nearly half of which consider the practice “very effective.” The same study also noted that many marketers still struggle to identify the right influencers for their campaigns as well as the most useful metrics for measuring the efficacy of their campaigns.
2. Influencer Marketing Gets ROI Validation
One of the biggest challenges in social media marketing is validating the return on investment.
This year several studies came out to answer this challenge. Tomosen conducted a poll and discovered that influencer marketing led to high-quality leads and an average of $6.50 return for every dollar invested. RhythmOne (1R) also released a benchmarking report, indicating that advertisers earned an average of $9.60 for every $1 invested.
3. The Industry Will Continue To Grow
The success marketers have seen with influencer marketing in 2015 has led them to allocate more budget into this highly effective advertising channel. Several studies have also come out to indicate such trend. For instance, according to research by Zefr, more than half of marketers will increase spending on influencer partnerships in 2016 and 20% of them will include influencer marketing in their top priority list. This data point is echoed in the Augure Study, which shows that 74% of marketers will invest more in influencer marketing.
4. What Do Influencers Want?
It should come as no surprise that influencers and marketers are motivated by different things. According to CrowdTap research, influencers are most likely to work with brands that offer creative freedom, competitive compensation and respect them as they would any other publishers. Unfortunately, marketers think Influencers are happy to share quality content with their audiences and grow their influence. Newsflash for brands: If you’re using someone else’s influence they’re not seeking the benefit of more exposure by working with you.
5. Influencers Gone Main Stream
A study by Variety has shown that YouTube stars are more trusted and well-liked than traditional Hollywood celebrities by millennials and digital natives. Indeed, social media celebrities went mainstream this year, from inclusion in the #YouTubeAsksObama event to taking on acting roles in films and TV shows to Forbes rolling out the first-ever ranking of the highest paid YouTube stars.
6. Full Disclosure Is Fully Necessary
It hasn’t been all unicorns and rainbows for the influencer marketing industry. Paid product endorsements have long been a heated issue on the internet. This year the controversy came to a head on YouTube when one network was fined by the FTC for failing to make the necessary disclosures about paid influencer campaigns.
7. New Platforms On The Rise
While YouTube has become part of the media establishment, brands and influencers alike have been experimenting with newer platforms as well. Mobile live-streaming is one such new frontier, with Nestle becoming the first brand to run a sponsored influencer broadcast on Periscope. And despite the challenges getting hard data, Snapchat has proven itself a coveted influencer marketing channel among brands.