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10 Stats to Know About the State of Influencer Marketing

  • 25 July 2017
  • Dean Schmid

Leveraging the massive audiences of influencers is one of the most effective strategies a brand when reaching and engaging with an audience.

People trust influencers, and they care what they have to say. They are the online mutual friend that says nice things about you, and if you get your research right, people tend to listen.

But these are just words; what you need are facts.

How is influencer marketing doing overall? Is it something you should include in your marketing strategy? I will attempt to answer these questions with 10 stats about the state of influencer marketing and provide you with an up to date insight that breaks down the buzz and hype with stats and studies.

10 Stats to Know About the State of Influencer Marketing

1. 84% Of Marketers Utilize Influencer Marketing Campaign Tactics

This isn’t just a trend, influencer marketing has found its way into the strategies of most marketers. The same study by launch metrics reported that 91% of U.S. respondents said that influencer marketing was somewhat or very effective.

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Social media platforms are where brands interact with influencers, and because of this influence is often sold in social currency. The same study found that influencers were more motivated by increasing their own reach than earning advertising dollars.

Trade influence to reach a larger audience. This is social media marketing day one stuff, but it is still counterintuitive to promote your competition. Ignore the old-school marketer in you and reach out to other brands, influencers, and even your direct competitors to get a bigger piece of that very large pie.

2. Earned Media Value for Influencer Marketing Was 1.5X Higher in 2015 Than 2014

Data from Rhythm One placed the average value of influencer marketing at $9.60 for every $1 spent in H1 2015. – eMarketer This is up from $6.85 in 2014. This same year an impressive 19% of all marketers with influencer strategies were in their first year of use.

Earned Media Value of US Influencer* Marketing Campaigns, by Advertiser Category, H1 2015 (among RhythmOne clients)

The effectiveness of influencer marketing varies from industry to industry. This is exactly why you need to research before throwing money or coming to an arrangement with any influencer. The influencer, industry, product, and platform that you choose, will all have a massive impact on your ROI.

3. The Average Person Spends 1 Hour 40 Minutes on Social Media Each Day

Marketers, like Ariel, want to be where the people are, and that is definitely on social media. This report by the Telegraph confirms that the average person spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media and maintains five social media accounts.

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This is the source of influencer marketing’s power. Mediakix calculated that the average person spends five years and four months of their life on social media.

Teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day on social media and 60% of this time is on mobile devices. I think that this stat Is borderline clickbait. Not all of that time is sent watching a news feed. Surely, some of it is just people with social media applications running on their phones, in the background, while they do other things.

Believe what you want, even if the numbers are exaggerated to make us fear for our children, it’s evidence that social media, and by extension influencers, play a massive role in our lives.

4. 70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.

The days of forking out thousands to get a celebrity to wear a hat for five minutes have been supplanted by the self-made social media influencer. Teenagers say that they can relate to YouTube influencers, and this has put them in a unique position to shape culture and set trends.

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This study by Think with Google breaks down why YouTube stars are more influential than traditional celebrities. If you doubt the sway that influencers have over young people, stats like 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say that their favorite creator understands them better than their friends, should tell you that there is something to this influencer marketing. Considering that a product recommendation from a close friend is widely considered the most trusted form of advertising – Nielsen, having an influencer with that degree of trust is like whispering directly into the subconscious of young people.

5. 96% of people believe that the advertising industry does not act with integrity—69% of these people attribute their mistrust to the advertisers’ desire to sell more effectively.

“The only real objection they have is they don’t trust you guys. And why should they trust you? I mean look at you, you’re a bunch of sleazy salesmen, right?” – Jordan Belfort, Wolf of Wall Street.

People don’t trust advertisers. They believe that we are motivated by money, and we will screw and extort whoever it takes to get it. The report went on to survey the average American’s trust of all kinds of things and found that there wasn’t much of it going around. Of the 1005 people surveyed only 4% believed the advertising industry acted with integrity.

People widely hold the belief that most integrity comes from themselves. The category ‘themselves’ was scored as the most trustworthy by 74% of respondents.

6. 70% of influencers feel that the most effective way to collaborate with brands is through an influencer marketing platform.

This report by Tap in Influence is well worth surrendering your email to read. It touches on some interesting points about the state of influencer marketing.

One stat that it brought up which I thought was particularly interesting is that 70% of influencers think working through a marketing platform is effective. It is talking about how brands reach out to influencers and manage their relationships with them. That isn’t to say the influencers are opposed to being contacted directly.

In fact, it was the most positively reviewed relationship for managing an engagement (73% of people surveyed said direct interaction is effective). The report went on to include that 70% of influencers are happy working through a PR agency.

Automated platforms were also cited as an immerging technology that from the influencer’s point of view will improve efficiencies and expand management scenarios. I think that the main take away is that influencer marketing is diverse and there isn’t one platform or channel that brands are using to reach out to influencers.

7. 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions.

A study by Ogilvy Cannes ranked the influence that different social channels and other forms of PR can have on a purchasing decision. Conducted over 6 months and interviewing nearly 2500 consumers.

Word of mouth came out on top. It was considered the most powerful factor when it comes to a brands relationship with the consumer. Next was retail and store visits, which 69% of people considered important. The rest of the top ten platforms were social media sites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and the list included non-social media points of influence such as branded websites, TV, newspapers FTC'smagazines, and search.

Social media is being used by consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. And who doesn’t look at a company’s Facebook page before deciding if they are going buy from them?

The report went on to say that “consumers choose the brands that engage them on their passions and interests 42% more often than they do those that simply urge them to buy something”

8. 78 percent said that determining the ROI of influencer marketing will be a top challenge in 2017.

This has always been one of the biggest challenges faced by influencer marketing. It is easy enough to get influencers promoting your brand, and you will never any problems sending them money, but when you have to report on your influencer campaign you quickly run into problems.

Image result for 78 percent said that determining the ROI of influencer marketing will be a top challenge in 2017.

Linqia's state of influencer marketing survey takes a deeper look into this and the difficulties marketers face trying to assign a dollar value to influence. The problem is being addressed both by startups / tech companies, coming out with innovative new tools to track engagement metrics, and by the social media platforms themselves.

Instagram released a sponsored post tag that writes a little ‘paid partnership with ____’ above the post. This links the influencer’s post to the brand, and Instagram has developed some nifty analytics tools to track the post’s engagement.

9. 88% of survey respondents require influencers to disclose sponsored content, but only 55% of marketers know what the most current FTC Guidelines are.

Influencer marketing has come under fire recently because the vast majority of influencers aren’t disclosing their sponsored posts. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is beefing up their policies and in the last couple of years have taken brands to court, sent letters to 90 influencers, and made several public statements. The message is clear, influencers are on the radar.

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Hashtag use to disclose like #ad, #sponsored and #sp, doubled in 2016 according to Captiv8. There are still a lot of influencers and celebrities not disclosing, like the Justin Bieber tweet above, and even when influencers inform their audience that a post is an ad or sponsored they still might fall short of the FTC's strict compliance.

Some advertisers consider the FTC's new requirement unfair and damaging for influencer marketing. In video content, for example, the FTC has called for disclosure to be said out loud inside the video. This seems a bit extreme for marketers using 10-second videos or posting over Snapchat, and it doesn’t take into consideration that most influencers will only work with the brands they like and use.

I have heard influencer marketing compared to product placement on a sports team. The FTC obviously disagrees.

It is an interesting debate that continues to heat up, and you need to do your own research to find out if disclosure has any effect on your campaign and then decide for yourself what you think complies with the FTC and what risks you are going to take.

10. In 2016, most marketers spent between $25,000 and $50,000 per influencer marketing program.

This statistic provides a ballpark figure for what the average brand is spending on an influencer marketing campaign. The figures might sound daunting if you don’t have that kind of money to commit to any type of marketing, but remember, influencer marketing campaigns have some of the best ROIs on average. Companies aren’t spending this money because they have to but because they want to.

A campaign doesn’t need to cost this much. Some of the most successful influencer campaigns I have been involved in haven’t cost a cent; All value was derived from a utual promotion. A lot of studies have found that smaller influencer with engaged audiences are better at driving traffic and getting that traffic to convert. This is great for marketers willing to put in the research because these influencers often don’t think their comparatively small audience is as valuable.

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