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The State of Influencer Marketing: What Brands Need to Know for 2020 and Beyond

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Influencer marketing has been around for nearly ten years and it is no small secret that, with the correct employment and tailor-made campaign, it can be highly effective.

In less than a decade, influencer marketing has rapidly evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry with more brands, agencies, and influencers entering the scene with each year.

But where is it headed? Julius surveyed 100 agency and brand marketers to learn about their biggest wins, hardest lessons, plans for 2020, and thoughts on how influencer marketing will change over the coming decade.

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During #SMWLDN JuliusDanny Palestine distilled the results of the survey to help marketers take their influencer marketing to the next level. Here’s a breakdown of the highlights:

Leveraging influencers enables companies to access a one-to-one intimacy with target consumers that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, as well as simultaneously gaining quality and credible content.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • The Leverage of Micro vs. Macro Influencers
  • Focus Your Budget On Paid Promotion
  • Mining Data To Find The Right Influencers And More 2020 Predictions
  • Brand Marketing Roles Are Predicted To Become More Specific
  • Influencing, By Definition, Isn’t Restricted To Social Media

The Leverage of Micro vs. Macro Influencers

Brand, Content, PR and Social Marketers can and should all consider implementing influencer strategies and should be targeting both micro and macro tiers, according to Palestine. Micro-influencers offer 65 percent  leverage compared to the 10 percent macro offers, and provide access to community, whereas macro offer culture insights.

Palestine understands that 80 percent of managers, directors and other specific roles are responsible for influencer marketing, as opposed to 56 percent sharing the role, demonstrating that a large amount of strategy goes into it and it is made up of an ecosystem of seniors and specialists.

Bigger budgets

Investment in influencer marketing is on the rise and 100% of PR practitioners are expected to maintain and increase their spend. In a budget breakdown, Palestine notes that the majority of the money should be spent on paid promotion as exposure does not pay the bills. Marketers are increasing their investment because they’re seeing brilliant results, however, with that comes more work so there will be more investment in software and agencies in order to help marketers achieve higher goals.

What does the future look like?

Predictions for 2020 include mining data to find the right influencers for set campaigns and working more intimately with them – asking how content can be bettered and seemingly natural.

Gemma Albin, Social Influencer Partnerships Manager at The LEGO Group mentions a LEGO partnership with presenter and creator Maddie Moate that made perfect sense. “We made an education series covering scientific content made with lego bricks. It was better working with expertise as it made it more holistic than our other campaigns.” Albin also mentions the importance of creative freedom in relation to authenticity. “We generate an environment where [influencers] can say no though, because we want to make it clear that we treating them as creative consultants.”

Brand Marketing roles are predicted to become more specific

When you go beyond sponsored posts, you reach strategic consulting, generate long-term partnerships, affiliate programs and e-commerce as well as generating events. This enriches your brand as it drives enthusiasm and generates energy and passion in regards to your influencer relations. It goes without saying that collaboration takes work and it’s important to feed the desire influencers have for wanting to obtain more followers. Timelines, expectations and deliverables need to be manageable.

Palestine predicts that whilst influencer marketing is primarily owned by Brand Marketers, next year that role will grow and continue to specialise. Lizzie Rabone, Associate Director of Strategy and Analytics at Edelman mentions needing “an influencer marketing manager because it [influencer marketing] touches everything. Everyone should be a part of the conversation, but one person to bring it all together is good.” Frankie Hobbs, Global Director of Campaigns at The Goat Agency notes that not one size fits all, though.

Influencing, by definition, isn’t restricted to social media

Influencers will also be more relied on to down-funnel, and for strategy roles as opposed to raising initial awareness. Goat Agency came from a brand and they are looking to diversify into TV and radio. “Influencers should be used in every other marketing channels, like TV, Radio and Billboard. Brands shouldn’t just use influencers. TV has a role to play too,” Hobbs explains, “also, having people that are actually recognisable in campaigns is going to help the campaign. Hyper Local Campaigns, for example having someone from Geordie Shore advertise in Newcastle, work well.”

Overall, the future of influencer marketing looks promising. As we look to navigate the complexities, new players and cross-platform storytelling strategies that enter onto the scene, these insights will be helpful to keep in mind as we hone our approaches.

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