In 2018, influencer marketing was more prominent than ever.
As a result, it was also at the mercy of high level of scrutiny and at times, controversy. The “newness” of influencer marketing means there were mistakes made and important details overlooked, but 2018 has taught marketers and PR pros a lot about the do’s and don’ts.
As we step into 2019, brands and agencies working with influencers as a part of their marketing strategy need to focus on the following trends if they want to succeed in this constantly changing sector:
1. Instagram will be the focus.
With the recent drama surrounding Facebook’s PR controversy and Google and YouTube’s privacy issues, Instagram is likely to take the lead when it comes to influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a growing branch on online marketing and Instagram will be its main medium. CreatorIQ, a data company tracking campaigns, estimated that campaigns using influencer marketing has doubled in just one year, and this growth was most prominent on Instagram. Instagram was the source of 93 percent of influencer marketing campaigns in 2018. Facebook and YouTube roughly tied for second position, according to CreatorIQ.
Celebrities are currently the drivers of Instagram videos, with pop culture icons taking the top spots for most popular videos. Instagram’s easy to consume and visually appealing photos and snappy videos are also why this social media giant will be top dog this year.
2. Integrating influencers into the overall campaign will be key.
As influencer marketing becomes more and more common, organizations are starting to develop more sophisticated and integrative influencer marketing tactics. “You really need to look at [influencer marketing] as a creative extensive to match up with your ideas as an advertiser,” said Steve Ellis, CEO of WhoSay.com, a company bought by Viacom one year ago. “It’s more about the idea. Talent can’t make a bad idea good. People don’t have to pay attention to your bad idea.”
This stresses the importance of providing good quality content and ideas to influencers. This means influencers need to be integrated into your overall campaign strategy and made a part of the team instead of just being used to disseminate content to their fans.
“If you’re basing the performance of your spend on the organic fan follower counts of talent and hoping for consistent ROI, you’re not doing influencer marketing the right way,” said Ellis. “Look at it as a creative execution, leveraging the talents and their creative skills to match with your idea or your message as an advertiser.”
3. Invest in long-term relationships.
Influencer marketing is no longer about a one-and-done engagement with an influencer. Brands and agencies have become more interested in building and sustaining long-term relationships with influencers. Influencers are looking for that, to—if the brand is a good fit with their personal brand and their values.
Influencers to succeed need to convey a consistent message and grow their audience with a brand as opposed to one-off sponsorships. That’s the best way—and something which we will see continuing.