INFLUENCER MARKETING – IS IT A SIMPLE FAD OR REAL STRATEGY?

INFLUENCER

INFLUENCERS, TRENDSETTERS, OPINION LEADERS … SO MANY TERMS THAT FLOURISH ON THE WEB TO DESIGNATE THE ACTORS OF A GROWING STRATEGY: INFLUENCER MARKETING. SO JUST A FAD OR A REAL IMPACT ON THE PURCHASING BEHAVIOR OF CONSUMERS? DECRYPTION.

In the beginning, there were affiliate and sponsorship programs which, initiated 20 years earlier, were real levers for acquiring traffic. Then the rise of networks and community applications, made it possible to “update” these practices which are articulated around the same strategy: influencer marketing. Why this enthusiasm of brands and companies for this type of strategy? What are the issues? Is it effective? How to set it up?
Before answering these questions, it is important to have two facts in mind: “more than a third of the world population uses community applications”. The number of active users has increased by 21% in 1 year and new trends are emerging, such as bots, which will simplify certain tasks and thus generate new use of social networks.

If companies are turning more and more to influencer marketing, it is because this practice is at the crossroads of several phenomena:
loss of banner interest (AdBlock, fraud, very low click-through rate, etc. );
– the increasing complexity of SEO practices
– the saturation of publications on social media which will soon no longer be visible (Facebook’s reach-killing test in Slovakia is a big warning to all media);
– the predominance of the smartphone in the behavior of Internet users who spend more and more time there and in particular on Instagram
– the evolution of content (micro-videos, stories, etc.) which are much more complex to produce for advertisers …

In this context, advertisers find it difficult to perform thanks to traditional traffic levers (banners, SEO, etc.) and therefore naturally turn to influence practices that offer better results.

A strategy to ensure visibility and sales

Influencer marketing as defined by certain specialists in the sector is an ecosystem.

THIS WILL REPRESENT, MOREOVER, BETWEEN 5 AND 10 BILLION DOLLARS WITHIN 5 YEARS.

An impressive figure, it would generate twice as many sales as paid media (advertising exposure purchased by brands). Customers acquired through this have a retention rate of 37%. We can also see that each social platform attracts a different type of user, thus making it possible to map and categorize markets (automotive, beauty, fashion, etc.). It is therefore up to the brands to identify promising networks capable of meeting their performance objectives.
But beyond being a vector of customer recruitment and visibility, influencer marketing is a highly interesting lever for the contribution of QUALIFIED traffic: by its differentiating impact vs the competition, and by the power of marketing tools. management of campaigns with thousands of influencers and micro-influencers.

Influence on perception and purchase

Opinion leaders, trendsetters, category experts, influencers have the ability to change the perception and have a buying influence with an engaged community. There are different types depending on the platform used: bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, snapchatters. Nevertheless, influencers are dependent on their platform: their influence is therefore very fluctuating and dependent on the reputation of the platform, thus leading to changes in their modus operandi if it comes to be closed. We can then speak of influencers “tenants” of their platform, the blog being the only platform where one can be “owner” while keeping control and deciding alone on its possible closure.

An influence accepted yes, but under certain conditions

After one and a half years of existence, 4000 panelist members, 50 waves of surveys with an average response rate of 50%, the generational study analyzed the problem of influence seen by 18-30-year-olds.
This influence, which comes primarily from the nature of the shared content (39%), is above all a matter of proximity since the family is cited as the first source of influence as much on the “me in general” items (50 %) than “my way of consuming” (28%), far ahead of the media for example (about 25% on the two items), stars and muses or stars of social networks (less than 10% on both points). Indeed, 63% of the young generation do not consider the muses of influencers differently.

Nevertheless, collaborations between brands and influencers are accepted by 20% of the members of the panel who see it as a new way of addressing them. These collaborations are moreover better accepted in certain universes such as high tech (41%) and sport (37%). Likewise, 39% understand that influencers may need to earn income from their activity to continue creating. The only condition to be respected, cited by 44% of respondents: the transparency of brands with regard to this approach. Indeed, the relationships between brands and influencers are often blurred. In April 2017, the Federal Trade Commission called to order 90 American personalities for hidden sponsored Instagram posts. 28%, therefore, find it a shame that their Youtubers lose their independence by “marrying” with brands. And 31% even admit to having already stopped following an influencer after a gap of this kind.

In conclusion, influencer marketing is a booming sector, whether in terms of allocated budgets or the number of influencers who professionalize. The sector still poses new problems such as the obligation of transparency. “Ad” or even “sponsor” hashtags are thus appearing, in order to allow users of different platforms to distinguish the influencer marketing campaigns of which they are the subject. We can also cite problems of fraud, sometimes dubious practices to increase quantified data (followers, engagement…) or even real mafia systems which are being set up in certain sectors with high potential.
In response to these issues, social platforms, fortunately, go to great lengths to standardize influencing practices.

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