Every January, technology enthusiasts from all over the world gather in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Consumer Electronic Show, a veritable mecca of electronics, gadgets, gizmos and new technologies. This year, over 175,000 people attended the event – for reference, that’s more than San Diego Comic Con!
Some of the biggest names in consumer tech assembled to strut their stuff, excite new customers and make valuable connections, from Samsung, to Google, to GE and more. Open Influence hit the showroom floor this year to see how the conversation was brewing when it comes to marketing and advertising.
Wait…marketing and advertising?
Yes, along with mobile phone moguls and motor company executives, CES is also a meeting place for the world’s brightest minds in marketing. Marketing and technology have always intersected and influenced one another, going all the way back to the days of printing presses and horse-and-carriage ads. So while CES might have begun as an exclusively tech-focused show, for the past two decades, it’s become a major hub for discussion around advertising, media and entertainment. Today’s major media companies consider themselves tech-first, such as Netflix, Spotify, and even Apple and Amazon as they too enter the streaming space.
As expected, influencer marketing was a key part of the discussion during industry panels and on the showroom floor. This came as no surprise to us, as the industry is poised to hit its biggest year ever in 2020. So what were the most discussed topics?
Trust is Harder to Acquire and More Valuable than Ever
What made social media influencers instantly stand apart from traditional celebrities, athletes and other advertising partners – aside from their highly-engaged fan bases and boundless talent – was their authenticity. Authenticity is what draws millions of followers to their channels and deepens their relationships beyond the typical audience/creator dynamic.
It’s ultimately why the best influencers earn the most important currency in today’s social economy: trust.
Trust is everything, when it comes to politics, business and beyond. Today’s consumers are educated, experienced and media literate – and they can instantly tell when a brand tries to connect with them in a genuine way, or when the messaging is fake and canned.
In today’s social media-oriented world, the best way to earn consumer trust is to rely on the people they trust the most!
“We’re turning to more disparate channels of information, such as online reviews and social media influencers, to find out The Truth,” said Sunrun’s Evelyn Hunang during a panel on shifting consumer trust.
At the end of the day, it’s simple: People Trust People!
Transparency is Mandatory
Whether it’s coming from brands, agencies, or the platforms themselves, the universal message is loud and clear: trying to game the influencer marketing system is not going to work.
This past year, the industry banded together to reduce fraudulent activity and make social media a better place for users and advertisers alike. The platforms took aggressive action on the back end, deleting millions of fake accounts, while the FTC issued updated guidelines this past November that make the rules behind clear and honest disclosure simpler than ever. Brands also turned to experts – like us – who know how to root out fake activity and partner with open, honest creators.
Perhaps most importantly of all, however, general audiences made it clear that fraudulent or shady behavior will no longer fly with them either. Like we said, today’s consumers are smarter than ever before – after almost a decade of influencer partnerships, they can spot shady behavior from a mile away.
And honestly, if you’re an actual creator and not a robot, there’s no need to try and hide brand sponsorships. Most social media users expect to see branded content in their feeds, and they understand that sponsorships can go a long way in helping their favorite creators take their careers to the next level.
“The Age of Interruption is Over”
So writes Pinterest in their latest Predictions from CES2020 blog, and we happen to be completely aligned. “People are over the annoyance of ads and technology getting in their way—they want and expect more from businesses.”
Luckily, the entire concept of influencer marketing content is designed to blend brand messages seamlessly within social media feeds, all while providing real value to creators’ audiences – whether that’s entertainment, education, or connection to a bigger cause. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, but today’s consumers have simply been spoiled by almost a decade of constantly-improving influencer content. If you want to reach today’s audiences, you have to earn their attention with something that’s truly worthy of it.
That’s all for now! What announcements from CES2020 have you the most excited? (Let’s be real, it was the flying car prototype, wasn’t it?)
As always, we’d love you to reach out to us on our social channels or by email at social@openinfluence. Lastly, if you want to stay informed on all-things influencer marketing, be sure to: