Will the Influencer Market Collapse?

According to an article published by Forbes Agency Council (2017), they predicted that the influencer market is going to collapse in 2018.  In recent years, brands spent millions of dollars to promote their products with social media influencers on various platforms (e.g, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). But after their large alternative marketing spends, are they seeing a big enough ROI to continue? Influencers are considered middle-tier influencers in the sales and strategy funnel that drive consumer awareness, but is that enough for brands to continue to spend money in this segment?

Here is my position:

I do think companies have to continue to integrate the influencer market in their strategic business plans because the influencer market is not going away. The caveat about being an influencer is authenticity. The moment their followers feel like they are being a sellout, their reputation can instantly become tarnished or worst of all – collapse. The influencer market has become increasingly saturated as YouTube stars like Michelle Phan or Jenna Marble had their rise to fame.  Michelle Phan is a beauty vlogger and is considered a top YouTube influencer as she has 9 million subscribers and more than 681 million views.  Jenna Marbles is a top YouTube influencer as her videos have been viewed more than two billion times and she has over 17 million followers. Influencers like Michelle and Jenna have a platform to ignite conversations, persuade consumers, and ultimately influence consumers to buy the product/service.  In other words, they have a plethora of social capital that brands should not overlook.

For someone who wants their start in the influencer market, they need to find their niche. Don’t do something that someone else has already done. Based on my personal experiences with colleagues, family, and friends; so many people who have a camera capable of recording in 1080p and a set of make-up brushes think they are going to be a YouTube star if they upload a video of them putting on their make-up.  Find a niche category like a channel dedicated to self-help or DIY and the ideas for the videos should be bold and different!

What are your thoughts? Do you think the influencer market will collapse? If so, what do you think the future will look like for the influencer market? Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!

Best,

Jason

 

Reference

Forbes Agency Council. (2017). How digital marketing will change in 2018: 15 top trends. Retrieved from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/12/18/howdigital-

marketing-will-change-in-2018-15-top-trends/#4c1e84cb2d9a

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4 Responses to Will the Influencer Market Collapse?

  1. Asia Reid says:

    Hi Jason,

    This is a fascinating subject thanks to the massive (and fast!) growth of influencers in recent years. I think you are wise to point out that influencers – particularly those on social media – can hold enormous potential to contribute to brands’ goals, but that it all hinges on authenticity. From my perspective, an influencer who is able to walk that line between selling a product and maintaining their credibility and realness, is far more effective than any ad or commercial I’ve ever seen. I have personally bought products based on an influencer recommendation many times, and believe there is a level of trust that these people can hold that no brand can ever maintain. Because of this, I tend to believe and hope that the majority of influencers will hang onto their credibility and authenticity, so that they can continue to be a part of brand marketing strategies. But couldn’t agree with you more that if they lose that authenticity, their value and thus their ROI will collapse quickly.

    Thanks for sharing – great post!
    Asia Reid

  2. Mark Carpenter says:

    Excellent post Jason! You chose a very timely topic and one that is essentially become omnipresent in our society because many of us are bombarded with influencers the moment we open Instagram on our phones. Contrary to what the experts think, I don’t think there are any signs the influencer market will come to a halt in 2018. In fact, I feel quite the opposite will happen and the number of influencers will grow. The user-friendly nature of technology on our laptops/phones combined with the popularity that comes up with being a brand ambassador has created massive incentive for more and more people to find ways to be a voice for products. In the last year alone, many within my circle of family and friends recognized the benefits of becoming ambassadors and increased their social media presence. Ultimately, great opportunities exist for companies to boost ROI because so many brands have the ability to get behind ambassadors who have built authentic connections with their own mini consumer communities.

  3. Thomas says:

    Hi Jason,
    The influencer market is a very interesting niche in the fact it has made celebrities out of people who otherwise would not be, but because of social media they now have a platform for public discourse. But merely having a soapbox does grant you with a license to intelligent, or truthful statements. And, as you said, if the public feels they have lost their sincereness they will not be long for the internet. Michelle, and Jenna have developed brand equity on the backs of other peoples brands! And in doing so have become a brand themselves. You are right that anyone who wishes to use this platform should try to be original at least, and develop an unique approach on their own. Will the influencer market go by the wayside? As long as people are happy to watch videos on You Tube there will be an audience to give them support.

  4. Austin Van Horn says:

    Hi Jason,
    I do think the influencer market will collapse. But not in a way where companies will begin to shun all influencers. The vibe I got from the article you referenced is that companies will continue to use the top tier influencers like Michelle Phan or Jenna Marble, but will move away from those who do little to actually influence a return on investment. I don’t think the blurb in the article you are referencing is saying that brands will overlook those with a strong following and with the power to actually impact the bottom line of a brand.
    I will welcome the day when social media is less about influencers. I think a brand can be special with it focusing its resources on a select number of influencers rather than casting a wide net. Hopefully the influencer market does shrink to allow for the major players to shine, but also leaving ample room for those with a different perspective to share. Right now, brands are probably trying to get the word out to as many people as possible and fear leaving “influencers” out, but I think they’ll soon realize that there are some with actual power and they’ll begin to cater strictly to them.
    Thanks for your post!
    Austin

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