The importance of influencers & how to use them.
Updated: May 26, 2020
In the year 2020, the concept of influencers is definitely not a new one. As social media has evolved from a neat distraction to an integral feature of our daily lives, we have systematically built up the credibility of a select group of individuals we consult before purchasing a product or service. These individuals range from bloggers, consultants, industry analysts and experts, but more often than not, people who have the same needs as you and I.
Marketing in 2020
Recent studies have shown that more traditional digital marketing strategies have lost their potency as as consumers have grown warier of how they are targeted. Ad-blocking software has grown immensely in popularity, with studies showing that 41% of Millennials use Ad Blockers, while 80% of users polled by Adobe said they would even pay a small fee to remove ads from their online experience. The mega buying force that is the teenage market has also become less susceptible to conventional marketing strategies, as statistics from PageFair show that 69% of Generation Z will always skip ad content on YouTube when given the option.
Even the age-old tradition of celebrity endorsement no longer commands the attention of the modern consumer, as a 2016 report indicated that only 3% of consumers would consider purchasing a product or service after seeing a celebrity endorse it. However, the same report showed that consumers were 30% more likely to consider the purchase of a product recommended by a non-celebrity influencer.
Why use influencers?
With the past four years showing a decline in the success of conventional marketing, influencer marketing has shown an astonishing growth of 1500%. This can largely be attributed to the impressive returns companies are seeing from influencer marketing. In a recent study by influencer marketplace, Tomoson, companies have shown to generate a 6.5 to 1 return on investment when spending money on influencer marketing. The same poll also concluded that influencer marketing is the fastest growing online marketing channel, considerably outpacing other digital strategies like display ads, paid search and affiliate marketing.
When marketers were asked to rate the quality of customers attracted through various channels of marketing, the majority ranked influencer marketing as attracting higher-level consumers, i.e. consumers more likely to make future purchases or continue to make use of services provided. This is most likely due to frequent social media users being more likely to recommend services and products to friends and family.
The sheer volume of companies that incorporate influencer marketing into their online strategies has also seen tremendous growth in the last few years. In a poll by Retail TouchPoints, 31% of participating companies said they worked with brand advocates to become influencers, 30% said that they have made use of non-celebrity influencers, and 28% said they have made use of celebrity influencers. Only 33% of marketers cited that they have not employed influencer marketing as a strategy.
More impressive than the number of marketers using influencer strategies is the number of people that purchase products and services as a result of influencer strategies. According to a study by CivicScience, 33% of daily US Instagram users said that they had based their purchase of a product or service on the recommendation of an influencer. In the same study, it is evident that similar purchasing habits are seen on YouTube and Twitter users.
Influencer marketing has also shown to be one of the most effective marketing strategies when targeting Generation Z consumers. In a study by Google, 70% of Generation Z YouTube users said they relate more to YouTube influencers than traditional celebrities. Furthermore, 44% of these users said that they have purchased products endorsed by influencers. These statistics become vital when analysing revenue potential when targeting modern teenagers. Despite Generation Z only accounting for 25.9% of the US population, their buying power is immense, with studies showing that in 2020 they will account for nearly 40% of all consumer markets, with similar findings appearing in most Western countries.
When it comes to incorporating influencer strategies in your marketing plan, a host of factors should be taken into account. It is more than a case of finding a popular online presence to plug your product. The success of influencers relies largely on their credibility, relatability and their connection with their following. Unlike traditional celebrities who commodify their talent, influencers rely on their personalities, tastes and affiliations alone to drive their brand. It is therefore crucial that when pairing with an influencer your product and the identity of the influencer convey an organic match. Once a pairing seems contrived or “obviously sponsored”, it diminishes the impact of the nuanced and authentic way in which influencers sell products.
Furthermore, pairing with an influencer can be squandered when a proper strategy isn’t employed to drive your campaign. Working with a marketing strategist when employing influencer strategies can ensure that a relationship with an influencer results in fruitful growth for both the brand and the influencer.
Ready to harness the power of influencers?