Influencer marketing equals a partnership between a brand and an influencer.
But a more complete question would be: what is social media influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing, in a sense we understand now, is the result of developing social networks. It does not mean that influencer-based marketing did not exist before YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. Of course, it did. Opinion leaders, community leaders, and many others were around without online social networks. Additionally, advertising with opinion leaders used to be based on a more complex structure: “brand – public persona – traditional media.”
With the launch of social networks, an understanding of several important processes has arrived: there are a lot of influencers, people trust them more than old media, and to cooperate with them, no one else is needed.
In 2020, all demographics spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes each day on social media platforms and messaging apps. Additionally, each successive generation spent more and more time than the previous generation (e.g., Gen Z spends more time on social media than Millennials, who spent 2 hours and 41 minutes).
Here are the statistics prepared based on a survey of marketers from the agency Mediakix in 2020. It can help clarify the effectiveness of influencer marketing:
Let’s focus on YouTube influencer marketing data. First, here is some interesting information from Jumpshot’s 2019 analytic report.
The statistics from 2020 show that:
Over 50% of YouTube users purchase a product when featured in a YouTuber’s product review videos.
Almost 50% of all Millennials cite YouTubers as their inspiration for making a personal change in their lives.
64% of men prefer YouTube as their platform of choice.
75% of children 6 to 17 chose to be a YouTuber as their most desired career.
Out of the top ten wealthiest YouTubers, half are gamers.
Referral traffic from top YouTube influencers drove over 80MM product views and 2MM purchases on Amazon alone in 2018.
Direct product links on YouTube saw a 440% increase in conversion rates over traditional advertisements – from 0.5% to 2.7%.
As we’ve mentioned above – influencer marketing is a collaboration of a product’s brand and an influencer, which, in turn, shares an army of followers with the brand. Influencers inspire and impact people who follow them on social networks. They can use different social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, but the effect will always be the same – impact on the audience. Thus, influencer marketing is a mix of traditional marketing and influence through social networks, so this type of product promotion is also called digital influencer marketing.
“How does it work?” you might wonder. Well, it looks like it is a long-term reputation building. The only difference is that a brand builds its reputation with another brand’s help in this kind of marketing. So, yes, influencers can also be considered brands but within social networks. That is why the values of both parties need to be as similar as possible, and ideally, to coincide.
Choosing an influencer is not an easy task, but “hitting the target” will give the brand the target audience loyalty and attention. It is important to remember that influencer marketing is a promotion without pressure, and the format of the recommendation from a trusted person gives a client a choice. Advertising, in this case, is a space for experiments and discoveries. Once again, it’s extremely important to understand that an influencer promotes his or her product (channel), and builds a dialogue with the audience (as well as you do), and his or her values should be as similar to your company’s as possible. If there is a mutual understanding at the level of ideas, it will be possible to agree on the business level.
In general, this is the most difficult question in influencer marketing. There are no clear bets or rates. If you are involved in socially important projects, and you are lucky enough to find a vlogger who will want to change the world, you can likely build long-term cooperation for free. But when it comes to a commercial product, you need to be prepared for individual negotiations.
Let’s take Ingrid Nilsen as an example. She has 3.62 M followers on YouTube. This vlogger started with videos about recipes and fashion, but over time she began to pay more attention to socially important issues, such as problems women and the LGBT community face. Brands took notice of her efforts, and she made several major deals: in 2017 she became the face of two leading foundations for Bare Minerals, in one of the biggest deals between an influencer and beauty brand to date – clocking in at over $500,000 for the year-long partnership.
The answer is simple: yes, it will! Take a look at the Jumpshot research data we have already referred to above:
“Around 65% of influencer marketing budgets are set to increase by the end of 2019 alone.”
“Over the next three years, influencer marketing ad spend is expected to reach $7.5B per year.”
Jumpshot’s study shows that market specialists expect a steady increase in investment in influencer marketing. Moreover, medium-term market growth forecasts indicate that in the next two years influencer marketing market can grow to $15B.
First of all, as you might suspect, it’s increasingly more and more difficult for traditional advertising to attract the audience’s attention. Secondly, classic advertising does not fit modern trends anymore. With social networks and mobile internet development, live-streaming videos are becoming increasingly popular. This means native integrations on YouTube can be longer than traditional advertising inserts and take place live. This is a fundamentally different level of communication, right? And perhaps the most important thing – almost any video from an influencer is storytelling, it’s an art, which means to “sell” an important narrative to the audience.
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