Micro-influencer marketing platform SocialPubli.com released the 2019 Influencer Marketing Report: A Marketer’s Perspective, offering a comprehensive look at today’s influencer marketing landscape and its impact on consumer-facing brand communication and marketing, as viewed by brands and agencies across a variety of industry sectors.
To better understand how marketers are using influencer marketing, the firm surveyed 150 marketing, communication and PR pros who were asked to share their perceptions about influencer marketing effectiveness, return on investment, influencer relations best practices, the industry’s main challenges, and emerging trends for the year ahead.
The research found that 93 percent of marketers are currently using influencer marketing, and 84 percent believe that it is effective
Of the surveyed marketers, 72 percent have been using influencer marketing for more than one year. The use of influencers is now an integral part of social marketing for brands interested in reaching their target audience. Although the majority of marketers only leverage influencer marketing during special occasions (37 percent), trailing closely behind are those that incorporate it as an “always on” strategy (30 percent) and those who claim to use it frequently (26 percent).
Over half of respondents (53 percent) allocate at least 10 percent of their budgets to influencer marketing
Of these, 32 percent dedicate 10-25 percent of the budget, 3 percent dedicate 25–50 percent, and 18 percent dedicate more than 50 percent. When asked about their investment projections for 2019, 60 percent of marketers said that they plan to increase their budget this year, 30 percent plan to maintain it, and only 2.5 percent expect to decrease their investment.
Currently, most marketers believe that the ideal strategy to boost online visibility and engagement for their brands involves a combination of influencer marketing, SEO and social media ads. When asked to select the marketing channel they believe delivers the most significant impact on ROI, influencer marketing was their top choice (35 percent), followed by SEO (29 percent), social ads (22 percent), SEM (12 percent), and email marketing (2 percent).
“Our 2019 Influencer Marketing Report reflects the widespread popularity of influencer marketing among marketers and serves to reinforce its power as a core digital marketing channel. As the industry matures and expenditure for influencer marketing grows, expectations will rise. It’s encouraging to see that marketers are starting to transition away from vanity metrics towards the use of more solid KPIs to determine the success of partnerships as they hone in on what’s working and what isn’t [when] seeking higher ROIs,” said Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of SocialPubli.com.
Results for marketers’ go-to influencer content performance indicators are quite balanced, demonstrating that influencer marketing is entering a phase of more standard and tangible KPIs
Marketers placed a greater importance on engagement (26 percent) than on the more traditionally used metric of reach (19 percent) when asked how they measure the success of their influencer marketing campaigns. Also cited were an increase in website traffic (13 percent) and sales and lead generation (13 percent).
One clear industry trend that the report underscores is the rise of micro-influencers as a potent category in influencer marketing. When asked about the ideal follower range for an influencer, survey results highlight a shift in marketers’ preferences favoring a more inclusive influencer mix of macro, mid and micro-influencers. A majority of marketers responding to the survey also view micro-influencers as the top industry trend for 2019.
“It’s evident that, for marketers, quality is more important than quantity. They are looking for those influencers who can drive genuine conversations and best represent the brand by producing content that aligns with the brand’s voice and personality. Their preferences are changing, and their influencer target is now more diverse than ever as they make room for influencers with more modest followings but high levels of engagement. Looking at survey results and the current landscape, our prediction is that small-scale collaborations are the future of influencer marketing with micro-influencers and nano-influencers emerging as power players in the near future,” says El-Qudsi.
Additional key findings from the survey include:
- 35 percent of marketers engage influencers for content promotion purposes, 34 percent to support product launches and 20 percent to attend brand events. Collaborating with influencers for corporate announcements (5 percent) and crisis management (5 percent) is significantly less popular.
- Marketers’ top three main objectives for using influencer marketing include: to increase brand awareness (26 percent), drive engagement with the brand (17 percent) and reach a new targeted audience (13 percent).
- Marketers cite reaching their target audience (35 percent) and building trust and credibility (35 percent) as the top benefits of collaborating with influencers.
- 28 percent of marketers cite measuring ROI as their biggest challenge, followed by verifying the authenticity of influencers and their followers (21 percent) and finding the most relevant influencers for campaigns (16 percent).
- Marketers report considering a variety of factors when selecting the ideal influencer for a campaign. At 29 percent, engagement rate is their top consideration, 23 percent look at content quality, 21 percent look at reach, 14 percent consider audience size and only 12 percent consider the cost of hiring the influencer.
- Instagram remains the platform of choice for influencer marketing with 67 percent of marketers selecting it as their favorite social network. Facebook came in in second place (12.5 percent) and Twitter in third (6 percent).
- Authenticity is key to a successful influencer marketing campaign. 87 percent of marketers prefer influencers to post original content.
- 54 percent of marketers prefer to outsource the management of their influencer marketing campaigns to agencies or platforms. 45.7 percent of respondents, on the other hand, manage their influencer marketing in-house.
Research was conducted by SocialPubli.com using an online questionnaire on December 2018. In total, 150 marketing, communication, and public relations professionals from 7 countries in Europe, North America and South America responded. 75% of survey participants launched at least one campaign on SocialPubli.com during 2018.