The Age of Influencer Marketing

In 2018, marketers are faced with the continual challenge to make their campaigns innovative and effective. Our world today is filled with so many different options to consume content, that the biggest challenge in marketing is no longer what your campaign will consist of, but where it will be seen. Since more and more people have moved away from traditional methods of advertising (newspaper ads, radio spots, or TV commercials), marketers have had to discover new ways of engaging their users while still exposing their content (Ward, 2017).

To solve this issue, the first thing marketers must do is find out where their users spend a majority of their time. In recents years, the amount of time customers spend on social media versus TV or radio has increased drastically (Molla, 2017). Since this is the new normal, companies are now left to do one thing: bring their content directly to users on their social sites.

Within the last year, it has been seen that one of the most effective ways for brands to expose their content on social media is through social media influencers (Jackson, 2018). The term “social media influencer” is a relatively new phrase, however it is highly effective for describing this type of marketing. Essentially it works like this:

  1. Company determines that their brand will do well with the specific influencer’s following
  2. Brand partners with a social media personality (usually one with a large following)`
  3. Brand gives the influencer the product to demonstrate or compensation to post about the item
  4. Brand receives more business due to the ad (GroupHigh, 2017)

This method of advertising has proven to be very effective for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the most prominent is that the followers trust who they are following. If someone is already actively following an influencer’s post, they obviously have some sort of interest in their content. If that influencer then tells their followers about a great new product they are using (even if they were paid to do so), their followers will likely trust their opinion and be more inclined to purchase the product (Lee, 2018). Additionally, this method of advertising is often much more cost efficient than traditional methods such as TV commercials (Lee, 2018). While a commercial may run a company millions of dollars to produce and distribute, an influencer ad can be as little as sending the influencer free product, to a few thousand dollars for a post. The rates at which influencers are compensated varies greatly on their following or the product being offered. However in any case, it is much cheaper than the traditional methods of marketing.

While this method is becoming more widely accepted amongst brands, it still has mixed reviews amongst social media users. Many people feel that the ads they consistently see by their favorite instagrammers is disturbing their content. Personally, I don’t mind influencer ads because it gives me a chance to see the product in use and hear from someone who has used it.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this though! How do you feel about social media influencers? Do you find their ads to be effective? Have you ever purchased something because someone you follow posted an ad for it? Let me know!

References:

G. (n.d.). Social Media Influencers – Find and build relationships. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from https://www.grouphigh.com/social-media-influencers/

Jackson, D. (2018, January 31). Top 8 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2018. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/influencer-marketing/

Lee, K. (2018, January 12). 2018: Year of the Influencer or year of the influencer      marketing implosion? Retrieved February 03, 2018, from https://marketingland.com/2018-year-influencer-year-influencer-marketing-implosion-231617

Molla, R. (2017, October 09). Americans are spending more time on media thanks to multitasking. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from https://www.recode.net/2017/10/9/16447820/americans-time-spent-media-multitasking-emarketer

Ward, T. (2017, December 02). The Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2018. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomward/2017/12/01/the-influencer-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2018/#4ada36a25398

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3 Responses to The Age of Influencer Marketing

  1. Lindsay O'Day says:

    I’m on the fence about influencer marketing. It’s obviously very effective and certain personalities who have a huge following are arguably a great source for marketing, but when they post ads or sponsored posts too often, it almost makes their whole account and persona seem insincere to me. I think influencer ad posts are fine in moderation (for instance, a blog I follow called Now & Gen has occasional sponsored posts that are clearly labeled) but too many can seem like you’re being inundated by ads and not much content.

  2. Miyu Kataoka says:

    I’m glad that Instagram now states when someone’s post is a sponsored ad. To be honest, I am tired of influencer marketing, and social media influencers in general. I used to follow a Disney fanatic on Instagram (who is not me) because I enjoyed his colorful Disneyland posts and his journey as he worked at the theme park. However, as he gained more followers, his post became full of sponsored posts (at that time it didn’t state so, but it was clear that he was given free goods to post on Instagram), and his other content became a bit too preachy/self-righteous. I eventually unfollowed him, and I’ve been unfollowing several other “influencers” due to their overwhelming sponsored posts and lack or authentic content.

  3. Thomas says:

    Rachael your post could not be more timely. Influencers have become a big part of the Social Media circuit these days. Most people seem to follow some person or celebrity in the news and can be swayed by their opinion when it comes to purchasing a product. I have also been swayed by influencers, but it depends on who is doing the talking. Cooking has become a lot of fun for me in the last few years, and I have collected certain utensils that I consider to be quality products. I have admit if one of my favorite Chefs on one of the cooking channels happens to mention a particular product, or food item, I will be inclined to remember it. Most of these items are very useful however, as I do own at least 6 different cook books by Bobby Flay, who I consider to be a good chef and very successful restauranteur with over 30 different locations to his credit. And as an influencer he has a lot of sway in the world of cooking. It depends on who the influencer is and what is the product they are endorsing. If they’re just talking about something they don’t know about in order to get paid, that can be dangerous if anything goes wrong with the product. The problem is we all celebrate celebrity too much in America, and that obsession with our favorite people to watch can sometimes get everyone into trouble.

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