Influencer marketing has already been here for a while but is still considered quite a fresh marketing channel. It is also often opposed to other, older marketing channels that, in comparison, are even called traditional. Because of this, uncertainty and a lot of questions arise around influencer marketing: is it really good? Can it attract customers? Can it actually sell? Is it effective, and if yes, how to use it properly to get all the possible profit?
In short: yes, influencer marketing works well, even better than some old-school marketing activities and methods. In fact, it can have an ROI 11 times higher than other channels – you will find more data and figures further in the article. And yes, it can be a bit tricky to use it effectively if you are very new to it and are used to traditional marketing, but it is no superpower, and an eager learner will get accustomed to it quite fast.
And why so? To put it simply, Influencer marketing works because people search for advice from those who are either their personal authorities or have a lot in common with them – or both. Influencers are just like that: they are perceived as peers and experts at the same time. Consumers trust influencers almost just as much as they trust friends and family when it comes to buying advice or some product opinion. Promotional content from influencers is often seen as authentic and native, like it is something they wholeheartedly recommend to their followers. And, unlike brands, influencers are humans, quite close and approachable ones – it makes them more trustworthy in the eye of a common consumer.
Another reason for influencer marketing to work well is that influencers’ content is what people choose to see voluntarily. Traditional advertising is not: no one actually wants to watch some commercial that interrupts their favorite soap opera on TV or a banner stretched across the street – it just became what you cannot avoid, and it is irritating. Even on the Internet, people often use software for ad blocking so as not to see banners and ad pop-up messages that interrupt them, forcefully draw attention away from the content they were actually searching for. Even if not able to block the ads completely, Internet users develop banner blindness – their attention becomes highly selective and they just straightforwardly ignore whatever information presented in banners.
On the other hand, watching some YouTube creator’s video or surfing through an Instagram influencer’s account, users are ready to absorb what the selected person has to show them, even understanding it can be promotional content. Of course, it only works for the influencers who create high-quality content and make their ads as authentic as possible. A person (and their approach to content making) is always the core of influencer marketing: it is the personality of an influencer that helps them build a sense of trust, attract an audience and make it loyal and perceptive.
The term “authenticity” may seem a bit irritating already, as everyone in the influencer marketing industry talks about it. But there is a very good reason for it: authenticity is a key component of forming trust between brands, influencers, and target audiences. It is what makes influencer-generated content feel organic and natural, even if it was created solely for advertising, taking it beyond the product promotion request and involving the influencer in a broader story.
So, why is influencer marketing successful? Read further to get some insights and relevant data on the topic.
Let’s start with the definition of influencer. Social media influencers are people who actively use social media platforms and have specific interests. And unlike regular active social media users, influencers managed to gain a relatively large following. There are few types of influencers based on their followers’ count:
So, influencer marketing is an advertising channel, a type of advertising provided by the people who are powerful on social media platforms and have a strong impact on their followers’ opinion.
But people hate ads or at least find them irritating in most cases. Then why do they love influencers and still listen to them and follow their advice, even if it is quite clear that it is promotional? Why do people allow influencer marketing work on them?
To put it short, the presentation is the answer. Influencer-generated sponsored content is valuable to brands because of its timing and delivery, and what can be even more important – its context. Also, the importance of social proof cannot be overstated: did you know that influencers usually decline more offers from brands than they actually accept? Yes, it’s true, so social proof really means a lot – it is a full and valid part of influencer marketing.
Nadia Bubennikova, Head of Agency at Famesters, shares the statistics: “Consumers trust influencers more than brands – 61% vs 38%”. Content created by brands themselves is often perceived as a lot less trustworthy than user-generated content: brands are companies, and users – influencers – are people that other people, their followers, can relate to. It’s about human approach and the human image. Yes, it is important for businesses to be present on social media and create their own image. But influencers remain those whose calls to action work better.
According to the research, 60% of marketers note that content produced by creators on social media performs better when compared to branded posts on companies’ accounts. Creators manage to get more engagement and drive more sales.
What is also quite impressive is that the ROI of influencer marketing as estimated by the industries’ experts tend to be significantly higher than that of other channels. It fact, it can be 11 times greater than that of banner ads, for example. And as ROI is one of the major metrics for measuring a marketing campaign’s success, this fact doesn’t fail to draw more marketers to the influencers’ side.
A bit more on consumers’ trust for influencers. 92% of internet users are more likely to believe an influencer rather than some more traditional and familiar advertisement or even a celebrity’s endorsement. If you need consumers to follow some advice or lick your links, you can rely on influencers with this. People see their favorite creators use some products or services – and have an urge to use the same things, specifically – buy them. This is one of the major reasons for influencer marketing traffic to be of such a high quality.
71% of marketers agree the quality is better than when it comes to other marketing sources.
As you can see from the chart above, marketing specialists see influencer marketing as an effective channel – actually, probably the most effective one. Experts value influencer marketing for the high-quality traffic it brings.
And this love shows: the influencer marketing industry has grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $16.4 billion in 2022. It is forecasted to continue growing even more and reach the point of $17.4 billion in 2023. The milestone of $20 billion is predicted to be reached between 2024 and 2025.
Each year more brands dive into influencer marketing for the first time, and those that have already become familiar with this marketing channel increase their spending on it. For now, 93% of marketers have had experience with influencer marketing, and 80% of them admit that it is effective or even very effective.
Influencers are those who can create extraordinary content for your brand, and also the one that their (and your) target audience will definitely like. And often such outstanding content costs even less than a content creating agency can charge you.
Usually, it takes more than a short advertisement to get consumers to buy your product. They need to actually do some search, find out more, see some reviews from reliable sources (and influencers are the one). But in the case of influencers, there are a lot more options.
First, even their short 15-seconds videos work better. Second, they can create and post different types of content that will 1) catch attention and 2) actually explain your product and why consumers really need it. Instagram allows creators to combine and post pictures, videos, text posts, series of stories, and don’t forget about carousels. YouTube can be used to post short and long videos and hold live streams. Each social media platform has its advantages and amazing creators, you just need to find where your target audience is more present and aim at it with influencers’ help.
When consumers open an influencer’s account or a single post, they want sincerity, they want a heart-to-heart with the influencer. Users look forward to what the influencer has to say about the product, learn their genuine opinion. It’s not about just the features of the product (or at least not only about them), it’s about a virtual conversation and emotions.
The most successful influencers strive to be genuine and not only likable – they need to be relatable to gain popularity. Storytelling helps here a lot, and, once again, influencers’ stories have to be relatable. Such stories convince the target audience that the influencer actually cares about your product and make this care contagious.
Nadia Bubennikova, Head of Agency at Famesters, is looking forward to the industry to evolve. She shares her view and tells what trend is going to rise for marketing specialists in 2023.
“The industry is developing fast, and marketers have not only to adjust, but to find new ways to work more efficiently. Due to this, more businesses will choose to get away from the regular influencer partnership format. It only includes one post on an influencer’s account that, after being released, never gets used again. It’s a waste of a perfectly designed piece of content. The new trend will be if not using on a regular basis, then at least testing a format that combines the publication of a creator’s content and a performance component.
For example, let’s take TikTok. In the new format, a TikTok advertising campaign has two parts.
For the first part, an influencer has to post a promotional TikTok video, just like they are used to doing. To make sure a brand gets what it needs, the influencer guarantees that the video will get a particular number of views in two weeks. During this time, a link to the brand’s site or product remains in the influencer’s profile.
For the second part, the brand takes the video after two weeks have passed and starts promoting it through Spark Ads managed via a TikTok advertising account. This is for targeting an effective and trustworthy influencer-generated content to the audience you need, get more touchpoints with it, and increase the coverage of the video. Also, such promoted videos can have direct links right inside.”
To wrap it up: influencer marketing may seem young and somewhat complicated, but it develops with a speed of light. To be up to date and use the most effective ways of attracting customers, you simply need to use it in 2023. The Famesters agency can help with that just right. Contact us to boost your business with the power of social media impact.