July 2017

5 Influencer Marketing Trends That Are Here to Stay

Influencer marketing continues to grow with 84 percent of marketers reporting that they plan to use the tactic in the next 12 months. Many factors have contributed to its growth, but probably none more central than the estimated 75 million Americans who are using ad blockersAnd as influencer marketing matures, it’s becoming clearer that some “trends” have evolved to foundational elements of successful influencer programs.

Here are 5 current trends we expect to become permanent components of best-in-class influencer marketing programs:

#1 Micro-influencers Are Having the Most Impact

Micro-influencers have followers only in the thousands or tens of thousands, but they command the attention of their highly-engaged audiences. Programs that feature micro-influencers often show better results than programs that use influencers with large followings.

Among the studies that supports this premise is one conducted by Markerly. Markerly found that as an influencer’s number of followers increased, their number of likes and comments from followers decreased. Their Instagram engagement data findings are as follows:

  • Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time
  • Users with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes at a 4% rate
  • Users with 10,000-100,000 followers achieved a 2.4% like rate
  • Users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time

#2 Brands Are Making a Longer-Term Commitment

While marketers often speak of the importance of “authenticity” when developing genuine consumer relationships, brands rarely spend the necessary time to cultivate it. While it’s possible to have short-term success with one-off influencer campaigns, there is a much greater likelihood of success with long-term programs.

Brands are now committing to long-term programs that build relationships with their influencers. The results of those relationships include:

  • Influencer messaging more likely to stay on-brand.
  • Cost savings by reducing time spent to recruit, onboard, and manage new influencers.
  • Greater customer impact, as influencers have more time to build trust among their audiences.

#3 Influencers Have Become Fundamental to Some Industries

For some industries, influencer marketing has become a fundamental tactic to reach their target consumers. For example, fashion and beauty brands invest heavily on influencers to shape the social conversation about their brands. Influencer marketing works exceptionally well for fashion and beauty brands because influencers are able to deploy image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. They can share beautiful, but authentic brand imagery in a way that a traditional magazine advertisement cannot. Influencers can make fashion and beauty relatable to everyday people.

Six of the ten brands featured in Hubspot’s 10 Impressive Examples of Influencer Marketing Campaigns are fashion and beauty brands.

#4 Influencer ROI is Improving

As marketing and advertising tactics mature, improvements and efficiency in ROI often follow. Influencer marketing is no exception. During the last decade, brands and agencies have learned how to maximize their campaigns and get better returns.

Today, it’s not uncommon for brands Fuse works with to achieve ROI similar to the 11x detailed by Inc. Though brands cannot depend on those results every time, program success can be assured by reducing costs at each stage of the process and by helping influencers maximize their engagement capabilities.

#5 Brands Are Embracing Influencers to Support Storytelling

Connecting with consumers through “storytelling” has become a point of emphasis by many best-in-class brands. Telling consumers about a brand’s history, mission, motivations, and people presents an authentic look inside the brand. Influencers are the perfect mechanism to appeal to these consumer emotions.

Mona Hamouly, VP of Social Media Comms at American Express, has said of influencers as brand storytellers, “We like to use influencers to showcase the way card members use our products in their everyday lives…they are often telling our brand story in more interesting ways than we are.”