Business Insider reports that the market for influencer marketing is set to reach $15 billion by 2022. Our digital-first world has fueled the power of influencers across all areas of interest, from politics to products, from makeup to marketing – and of late, brands in India have begun to shift away from traditional influencer content. Where once every frame and shot in collaboration was tightly controlled to make sure it abided by internal guidelines, brands are now giving influencers the freedom to create the content they know works best.
Some people still ignore this new and unfamiliar marketing technique, citing that these “self-made celebrities” aren’t worth their time. But like many industry changes, it should be embraced if marketers don’t want to get left behind.
Tiers Of Influencers
Influencers have been a big topic of conversation in recent years, and their misconceptions vary.
Take Kylie Jenner for example. A popular beauty business mogul and part of the Kardashian clan, she reportedly earns up to $1.2 million USD per post on Instagram in her role as a celebrity influencer. A celebrity influencer like Jenner will typically have at least 1 million followers on their social media platforms. Shared to her 160 million followers, these kinds of posts have a high chance of being seen by a broad audience.
After the big names, you’ve got mega-influencers (500,000 to 1 million followers) and macro-influencers (30,000 to 500,000 followers). While they have a lesser following than celebrities, they have a higher engagement rate.
Enter micro-influencers. They work within a smaller niche than celebrities; they tend to have a stronger sense of loyalty amongst their followers who trust their opinion within that niche.
Influencers Are Real, Ads Are Contrived
Younger audiences, in particular, are sceptical of traditional, one-way communication strategies and celebrity endorsements. But the reason influencers are so important right now is not only due to a growing lack of trust in advertising; consumers are hungry for authenticity. A GlobalWebIndex survey revealed, 47% of consumers use them because ads are “irrelevant and annoying.”
On the flip side, for many consumers, influencers epitomise authenticity. People can engage directly with influencers, many of whom respond to posts and comments and participate in two-way dialogue with followers.
In just the last decade, influencer marketing has risen from obscurity to the top of the B2B CMO’s agenda as the most effective way to connect and interact with customers and prospects and drive brand awareness.
Successful influencer programs in the B2B world pop up with increasing frequency and tremendous impact. SAP is often cited for its success in using influencer marketing to promote its events. And Dell nailed its foray into influencer marketing with its Dell Luminaries podcast, which features influencers Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr along with technology visionaries from Dell and other leading organisations.
While many sought-after influencers have immense social media reach, research shows that micro-influencers deliver 60% better engagement and 22% higher conversion rates. With each passing day, more and more brands realise that ROI delivered by influencer marketing is unparalleled.
The always-on influencer marketing approach portrays brand loyalty from an influencer point of view and adds to the credibility of the brand and better brand recall. Influencers creating and launching their brands, driven by their expertise in a certain field, passion or life experience, is also contributing to changing the face of marketing.
Two major trends are emerging in the influencer marketing sector and will likely dominate this year. Firstly, the creator economy will move towards a subscription-led model wherein true fans will be able to pay a sum of money to access exclusive influencer content. Such premium content will not be available on public platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Secondly, the use of NFTs will skyrocket over the next year. With NFTs, users can assume ownership of content such as images, videos, or sound clips, unlocking more revenue opportunities for creators.