The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Guide
You know how you can get so caught up in your own industry’s jargon that you forget what it sounds like to everyone else?
Well, here at TapInfluence, we talk a lot about influencer marketing, and how influencer marketing should be a vital part of your brand strategy, blah blah blah, and so on and so forth.
We live and breathe influencer marketing every day, so much so that we often forget that not everyone knows what it is!
Having been a pioneer in the influencer marketing space, we’ve compiled our knowledge into an all you need to know influencer marketing guide. We’ll answer and share the following:
- What is influencer marketing?
- What’s the Difference Between Word-of-Mouth Marketing and Influencer Marketing?
- Is Advocate Marketing the Same as Influencer Marketing?
- Why is influencer marketing important?
- How does influencer marketing work?
- What you need to know about Influencer Marketing
- How to get started
- What is an influencer marketing platform?
- What are the misconceptions about influencer marketing?
- How influencer marketing drives ROI
- How influencer marketing agencies make money
- Next Steps
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.
Influencer marketing often goes hand-in-hand with two other forms of marketing: social-media marketing and content marketing. Most influencer campaigns have some sort of social-media component, whereby influencers are expected to spread the word through their personal social channels. Many influencer campaigns also carry a content element in which either you create content for the influencers, or they create the content themselves. Though social-media and content marketing often fit inside influencer campaigns, they are not synonymous with influencer marketing.
What’s the Difference Between Word-of-Mouth Marketing and Influencer Marketing?
Although some people use word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing interchangeably, there’s a real difference between the two disciplines. Whereas influencer marketing is the concept of engaging key individuals to leverage their influence among friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing is the actual avenue by which this communication takes place. So, almost all influencer marketing includes word-of-mouth marketing activities by its nature, but not all word-of-mouth marketing is driven by influencer campaigns.
Is Advocate Marketing the Same as Influencer Marketing?
Advocate marketing isn’t influencer marketing, either. The best way to understand the difference is that advocate marketing focuses on encouraging or incentivizing already-loyal customers to share their love of your brand or product. The sharing might happen by way of product reviews and customer references.
With influencer marketing, you’re more focused on finding influencers—not necessarily current customers—to spread your message. Another distinguishing factor between influencer marketing and advocate marketing is that influencers are almost always paid in some way, either with money or free products. Advocate marketing focuses less on payment, more on driving brand loyalty, which in turn multiples the number of vocal advocates.
Why is influencer marketing important??
The influence economy has changed the way we buy things—forever. Roughly 67 percent of marketers report that they are engaged in some form of influencer marketing, a number that’s likely to grow as social media influencers gain more mainstream exposure. With demand on the rise, the influencer economy is shifting toward more streamlined solutions, embracing tools like influencer networks, match-making platforms services and even programmatic to help brands tap influencers more easily. Brands who aren’t part of it are losing control. Consumers now control the buyer’s journey, and they are getting harder to reach with digital advertising:
- 90% of Americans ignore digital ads – Harris Interactive, 2015
- 40% of ad revenue lost to ad block by sites that target millennials – President of IAB
- $7.2B estimated global losses to bot fraud in 2016 – White Ops/ANA, 2016
- 56% of paid-for digital ad impressions are never seen -Google, 2015
- 62% of consumers trust brands less -DoubleClick, 2015
Conventional digital marketing no longer works. A huge 66 percent of customers are overwhelmed by too many online marketing messages, and 20 percent of consumers would boycott a brand because of excessive ads. Marketers should care about influencer content because it provides the perfect cure for “ad fatigue” and, unlike traditional ad campaigns, delivers authenticity.
Smart brands are combating this by using influencer marketing to create an ongoing conversation with consumers, recognizing that they are influenced by different people, at different times, in different ways. Instead of diminishing returns from digital advertising, brand social and content marketing, the influencer marketing goes past reach and clicks to continuous engagement and conversations that drive commerce, giving you metrics that matter and align with your business goals, such as:
- Attracting new customers
- Increasing repeat purchases
- Driving customer loyalty
- Maximizing customer lifetime revenue
Consumers want authentic voices, not faceless sales executives who use the same old tricks. Marketers can’t ignore influencer marketing any longer: content creators have the power to drive business growth and deliver authenticity that engages with audiences. Imagine—thousands of voices having authentic conversations about your brand that hold sway in a way your voice alone never could. That’s the power of influencer marketing.
How does influencer marketing work?
If you’re a marketer and you’re feeling the pressure to deliver more revenue while having less control over messaging, you’re not alone. The landscape of marketing has changed significantly and consumers determine the messaging they want to see. Brands no longer have center stage, consumers do. If you want to be a part of consumer conversations, you have to play by their rules. Social media is where consumers are having conversations today, and one of the most impactful byproducts to emerge is that of influencer marketing. So how does influencer marketing work?
At a high level, it is a form of branded engagement where marketers connect with those who boast prominent social footprints. The goal is to plug into new communities and connect the brand/product to new audiences through the voice and trusted relationships of said influencer.
Authentic content creates trust. People gravitate toward digital influencers because they value the content that they create. Developing strategic relationships with these influencers allows brands to incorporate their messaging into that content, and share it with consumers through a trusted source. To make the most of this opportunity, brands must allow influencers the ability to stay true to themselves when working on sponsored content. Insincere or irrelevant content will rapidly erode an influencer’s power by reducing their followers’ trust in them.
If brands want to be relevant to consumers, they must approach media as a way to attract, engage, and convert prospects. That means meeting consumers with content they care about and trust. Working with influencers is an effective way to fuel a conversation about a brand using trustworthy content. Since influencer marketing results in engagement, it also results in earned media. Influencers are experts at generating discussions online, so the content they create on behalf of a brand is talked about, shared, and reposted. That is earned media. The value of earned media is that it is trusted more by consumers. When influencers write about their own experiences and share compelling content about a brand, it can have a dramatic effect on their audience.
Online activity is a core part of the decision making process. In today’s digital world, people can access information about products long before they reach a brand site. They turn to their peers online for recommendations about products, they look for information through search engines, and they read product reviews. Therefore, it makes sense for brands to partner with social media influencers. They have the ability to share product and brand information that shapes purchase decisions.
People are already talking online…be part of the conversation. Social media has changed the way brands interact with consumers by fostering an environment where consumers have immediate access to information. Through social media, people gather input about brands and products and then make purchase decisions based on what they discover. Successful brands leverage social media to stay connected with consumers by actively participating in this online dialogue. However, advertising is not the same as being part of the conversation. Instead, ads distract from it, pulling people’s focus away from what’s important to them. Working with influencers allows brands to add to the conversation rather than derailing it.
What you need to know about Influencer Marketing
It’s Here to Stay
If you’ve been thinking a, “watch and wait” approach to influencer marketing is safest, think again. eMarketer reports 84% of marketers anticipated launching at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months, and close to 60% plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2016. That means brands who have not yet gotten started with influencer marketing are falling behind.
It’s No Longer About Celebrities
The media hoopla around celebrities like the Kardashians has created misperceptions around influencer marketing that remain, even now that it has become mainstream. While the early days of influencer marketing were all about celebrity influencers and social media stars, people soon realized an influencer’s ability to reach and influence an audience of your target consumers, and carry your brand message authentically was far more important than their reach alone. A robust influencer marketing strategy will often include macro-influencers, “power middle” influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, employees, and even celebrities, as needed. True optimization means brands can understand and optimize the performance of the right group of influencers, at the right time, to meet
Nielsen reports 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands.
It’s Not About YOU, Either
Brands today are grappling with some serious issues around declining consumer trust. Nielsen reports 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands. The problem is so bad that a 2015 survey commissioned by the 4As ranked consumer trust in advertising lower than that of Congress. Driving this decline in trust is both the feeling that advertising has become intrusive‚ as evidenced by the widespread adoption of ad blocking technology. Today’s consumers, especially millennials, who will total more than 1.4 Trillion in spending power by 2020, to have more meaningful connections with brands that they feel stand for something. The result is that consumers would rather hear from real people than brands, and influencer marketing delivers the connection to more authentic experiences that consumers crave.
It Is About Trust.
If today’s consumers aren’t buying marketing messages, to whom are they listening? The answer is other consumers.
According to BrightLocal, 92% of consumers now read online reviews, up from 88% in 2014, and nearly 90% of customers trust online reviews by strangers as much as they would recommendations from friends.
That online trust is translating to dollars. Twitter reports nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer. Those numbers are often even higher for Pinterest and Instagram. As influencer marketing becomes commonplace, maintaining that trust requires authenticity, including strict adherence to FTC guidelines on disclosure of sponsored content. Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using disclosure as a differentiator. They are also jumping on trends such as real-time social to hand over the reigns to influencers for a more authentic experience, trading the perceived brand control of static social for performance increases from Snapchat’s 10 billion daily views and Facebook Live’s 3x longer watch times.
How to Get Started
Since influencer marketing is a discipline all its own, you’ll need a few unique components to build an influencer campaign. Here are the steps we teach to help our clients build influencer campaigns:
- Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
- Influencer Identification & Selection
- Program Workflow and Automation
- Monitor & Track Key Metrics
- Optimized Distribution
However, before you start looking for influencers or create a strategy, you’ll want to determine a few key things to help set the stage. You’ll need to know your audience, set clear goals, and define how you’ll measure success.
Know Your Audience
A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with. We recommend stepping back and looking at your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who is the target market for your message?
Set Clear Goals
Many of the common goals for influencer marketing campaigns are: Brand Awareness, Get people to try a product, Gain Social Media followers, and Increase sales.
Define How You’ll Measure Success
The last key ingredient is how you or your client plan to measure success. These often roll up to higher level marketing goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) you hope to achieve. By setting up the right tracking methods you’ll be able to identify where a consumer is in the decision journey. i.e. Awareness, Purchase Consideration, Preference, or Loyalty.
What are the Key Components of Influencer Marketing?
1) Planning Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Developing a successful influencer marketing strategy takes careful thought and planning. To get started you’ll want a workbook that contains helpful worksheets and examples that will lead you through the process we use with our clients to build influencer marketing plans.
2) Influencer Identification & Selection
Depending on budgets and scope of your campaign there are four main ways to identify influencers to work on your campaigns.
5 Critical Worksheets for Developing Your Influencer Marketing StrategyA successful influencer marketing strategy requires careful planning. These worksheets are used to create strategies for many of our customers. They’ll guide you step-by-step through the process of developing a solid influencer marketing strategy for your brand.
- Google – This use to be the main way brands and agencies found influencers to connect with. This method requires individual searches, then scanning webpages for contact info, and then populating spreadsheets to keep track of it all.
- Databases – Do site scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.
- Networks – This method of connecting with influencers sits in the middle of a database and a marketplace. A network has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.
- Marketplaces – A marketplace will offer the best of database by pulling in real-time information, along with avoiding the middleman like you get with a network.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and with varying levels of influence. We bucket them into categories because each bucket serves a different purpose and is motivated differently.
These social media stars have broken out and command a pretty penny to work with, but leveraged for their own brand name and cache’ of followers. They can deliver on a large scale and are great to use as the face of a campaign.
Unleash the Power of Influencer ContentIn this ebook, you’ll learn: creative ways to leverage influencer partners, How to identify influencers who can meet your goals, how Black Box Wines used influencers to boost website traffic, increase share of voice, and increase consumer goodwill—and how you can do the same. Click on the image below to download.
High-Quality Content Creators
These are the high volume content producers that have attracted a sizeable audience because they’ve gotten to know them during their building process. These people know how to create content for a certain type of audience and have data to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Buzz Builders and Promoters
Are great at getting the word out and have audiences that range in size. Some are large deal focused bloggers and other are know for spreading the word on what’s hot and can help get your brand the attention you are looking for. They will help you scale your outreach efforts with little collaboration.
Advocates and Employees
These brand ambassadors naturally love your brand and can be found online talking about you already. Pay attention to your social channels and invite them to share and create content. These people already love your brand and are willing to talk about what you are doing.
3) Content Collaboration and Campaign Workflow
The key to any great Influencer Marketing campaign is creating great content. Content that is compelling to its target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delvers against your bran objectives. If even one piece of this equation is missing, the content will fall flat. How do you create great content?
Give ‘em Something To Talk About
One way this can be done is by giving your influencers an experience or brand immersion they won’t be able to stop talking about. Experiences provide the creative inspiration influencers crave, and also align nicely with your brand messaging since you control the atmosphere.
4) Optimized Distribution
Using influencers to create content that will attract the right audience is the bedrock of any influencer marketing strategy. But it doesn’t just stop with the content being posted on their site, or across their social channels. So what else can you do with it? Build a content strategy to extend its usefulness over your whole marketing strategy. Use influencer content in quotes and testimonials. Feature top tier celebrity influencers in your TV or print ads. Even share your content in a dedicated section of your brand newsletter.
5) Monitor & Analytics
Different metrics and methods for measurement can be used to define your success as it ladders to your original goals. Take a look how online actions map to the consumer decision journey:
As you collect data this is where a technology solution can be of benefit. You can start to use that data to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. You can rank your influencers based on output, what content resonates with your audience, and which of their social channels are best for distribution.
What Does Success Look Like?
One of the best ways to show the return on your investment is a influencer marketing campaign is to determine a dollar value for the content itself, the audience it reached, and the engagement it received to calculate a Total Media Value of your influencer content. Calculate your Total Media Value and ROI.
What is an influencer marketing platform?
Influencer marketing platforms come in all shapes and sizes but the goal is to help a marketer efficiently discover influencers, manage, and measure the success of their influencer partnerships. Whether you are a large enterprise or a small business, an influencer marketing platform can help to ensure you are getting a positive return on investment and making the most efficient use of your valuable time and resources. An influencer marketing platform reduces the cost and time associated with traditional influencer marketing options by freeing marketers from the need to practice one off “random acts of influence,” which do nothing but tally up higher program costs and result in a lack of consumer engagement and poor ROI.
Until now, influencer marketing has been achieved through a discombobulated and disconnected array of tools, programs and point solutions, each designed to support one component of a complete influencer marketing program. These are tools typically categorized as social media broadcast tools, influencer databases, content management workflow tools, and influencer program-management tools. What brands, and the agencies that serve them, need is a comprehensive influencer marketing platform – an effective, scalable and predictable way to execute influencer marketing campaigns.
The five critical components of an influencer marketing platform are:
- Influencer Recruitment
- Influencer Selection
- Workflow Automation
- Optimized Distribution
1) Influencer Recruitment
Identifying the universe of relevant influencers meant lots of time on Google, building lists, reaching out individually or paying hefty monthly subscriptions to influencer directories that include unregistered, unqualified influencers with limited profile data and no performance history.
To efficiently find relevant influencers who represent their target audience, marketers need:
- A simple, efficient method to identify influencers who are qualified and open to partnering with marketers.
- An option that simplifies identifying niche influencers that includes onboarding and training.
- To eliminate the hassle and time allocated to handling individual influencer payments
- The ability to centralize and track all existing influencer initiatives along with new programs in a single platform
2) Influencer Selection
Marketers have traditionally had little data on which to make informed influencer selection decisions. The process of choosing influencers was a manual, subjective, and time-consuming process based on reach and topic, not on actual performance.
To save time and vital resources, marketers need the ability to:
- Access a proprietary, algorithmic engine that automatically identifies relevant influencers based on intended audience, desired performance and cost parameters.
- Access a proprietary, algorithmic engine that automatically identifies relevant influencers based on intended audience, desired performance and cost parameters.
- Search individually for influencers using multiple criteria, such as demographics, reach, location, language, and audience profiles.
- Invite/import existing influencers to the platform so all content and distribution can be tracked
- See transparent influencer rate information
- Create custom influencer lists based on program, product, season or target audience
- Vet influencers based on target audience and budget restrictions
3) Workflow Automation
Influencer marketing platforms allows marketers to build, execute, and report influencer campaigns of any size, shape, and complexity in hours, not weeks.
Marketers need the ability to:
- Invite influencers to assignments with the click of a button.
- Use in-app messaging to communicate directly with influencers at any stage of a campaign.
- Review draft stages of content before its published.
- Create programs with multiple assignments (blogs or social) and track them all together.
- Easily create, manage and instantly edit editorial calendars.
- See assignment progress by influencer (i.e. invited, accepted, scheduled, published, paid)
- Produce effective influencer campaigns, regardless of experience or expertise level.
- Analyze and identify best performing content.
- Track real-time performance including reach, views, and engagement across multiple channels.
- Analyze engagement and Total Media Value.
- View return on influencer investment based on program costs.
- Evaluate how much each channel is worth
- Learn which influencers work best by filtering and sorting by reach, views, engagement, total media value, rate, and ROI.
- Export and share reports in multiple formats.
- Distribute that content further through a network of top influencers.
- Determine which influencers perform best with which content.
- Improve the quality of influencer traffic that significantly lifts influencer ROI.
- Optimized distribution is the pillar that elevates all others.
Marketers need metrics way beyond standard content impressions and click-thru-rates to gauge the impact of their influencer marketing efforts. They need access to real-time, multi-channel tracking for content across blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. Marketers need an instant gauge of accountability around program investment and impact.
To truly be accountable for revenue impact, marketers need to:
5) Optimized Distribution
Distributing social content through influencers without the ability to continually refine and optimize across channels leaves marketers without levers to improve results. Like SEO, influencer marketing requires ongoing optimization to improve engagement, drive even higher revenue impact, and lower program costs.
Optimized distribution includes the ability to identify and predict which content, social channels, and influencers will perform best before expanding distribution to a wider range of known and unknown audiences.
Marketers need to be able to:
In today’s digital era, success requires authentic, sustained consumer engagement. Marketers looking to connect in this way and drive revenue need a simple, unified solution. The five pillars are the industry’s roadmap to success in the influence economy.
What are the misconceptions about influencer marketing?
As influencer marketing grows in popularity, so do myths and bad habits. People start looking for shortcuts to creating valuable, game-changing content, but shortcuts create chaos. To compensate for pushback, TapInfluence offers some rebuttal: First, there is no easy answer. Building success takes work, but it is accessible to anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to meaningfully connect with their
audience. Second, you can do it at a fraction of the time and cost.
Much of your pushback will focus on misconceptions of what influencer marketing is. Here are a few areas where we’d like to set the record straight, and where you can defend your own innovative insight:
It’s too manual.
If you’ve tried influencer marketing in the past, you may have a bad taste in your mouth about the process and the amount of work involved. That is no longer the case, an influencer marketing platform can eliminate 90% of the work associated with running a program manually.
It’s only for big brands.
Working with influencers can be done on any budget. In reality, it presents a huge opportunity for challenger brands who don’t have deep enough pockets for traditional mass media but who still need to get their message out in an authentic and impactful way.
It can’t be measured, so who knows if it really works?
There are a number of studies out there that demonstrate the power of influencers in purchase decisions. In fact, a case study between TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions showed definitive sales lift attributed to influencer content. Furthermore, it was the highest-performing study Nielsen had ever conducted.
It’s just celebrity endorsement.
Celebrity is just a small, fading aspect of influencer marketing. The overwhelming majority of influencers are real people like you and me who are passionate and have credibility because they create content that resonates.
They’re just ads that look like content.
Sponsored content is paid, but it’s not received like an ad. If done properly, studies (tomoson study and rhythmone study) show that paid content performs as well as non-paid content. The transparency of a paid post is not off-putting to consumers, so long as the content is valuable and relevant. Great influencer marketing creates relationships with consumers.
It’s only about finding large reach.
Reach in and of itself has become an outdated metric. While it is good to know, what matters more is engagement and the cost for each engagement. From time spent reading a blog post, to shares of a social post, to downloads of a piece of content, an influencer with a small but highly-engaged audience is more impactful than one with large reach and little action.
Isn’t it just influencers selling out?
In fact, it is quite the opposite. The influencer economy is self-policing. Consumers can quickly sniff out an inauthentic brand post and influencers know they will lose their credibility with their audience if they provide that kind of content. Influencer marketing is built on allowing the influencer to stay true to their own voice.
We can just produce the content ourselves.
While many companies produce excellent content, consumers regard it differently than content created by fellow consumers. Influencers can build on the body of content you’ve already built, providing credibility and engagement that brands have trouble achieving on their own.
It’s no different than the digital programs we’re already running.
In reality, influencer content is the most cost effective channel in your marketing mix. Unlike traditional media, the cost of content creation and distribution are one and the same. Influencer content also lives on far after a paid campaign ends. We’ve seen a 3x increase in ROI in the three months after the campaign ended.
How influencer marketing drives ROI?
Influencer marketing is the most effective way to re-engage and motivate consumers because it harnesses the power of authentic, meaningful content, created by consumers, for consumers. It’s trusted and valuable rather than interruptive and contrived.
Simply enough, influencers are consumers who embrace relevant platforms to share ideas and opinions about topics about which they are passionate. They share meaningful and relevant stories, reviews, and other content that speaks to the experiences of other consumers like them. Over time, these influencers developed audiences of trusting and engaged followers.
For influencer marketing to be effective, it must be authentic, consumer-generated content. More powerful than celebrity endorsement, and more robust than simple customer or employee advocacy, influencer marketing leverages everyday people who are trusted by their audiences and have the powerful ability to move them to action.
A recent study from AudienceBloom notes that influencer marketing delivers the 2nd highest ROI of any digital channel. Our own research with Nielsen Catalina Solutions found that influencer content outperformed traditional digital ads across the board, delivering 11X higher ROI annually. Influencer content is evergreen, meaning that it continues to deliver value long after a campaign’s conclusion. The Nielsen Catalina study demonstrated the long-tail effectiveness of influencer blog posts: the campaign’s ROI doubled in the 3 months following its conclusion.
How do influencer marketing agencies make money?
Influencer agencies have traditionally made money in influencer marketing bridging the gaps of inefficiencies and weaknesses in market solutions from a) finding and building influencer lists; b) negotiating pricing with influencers; c) writing creative briefs; and, d) measuring the impact of influencer reach on content. Agencies have also been creative with influencer pricing which is now being rooted out by marketers who are demanding 100% cost-transparency. Today, the most influencer marketing agencies lack differentiation and want to deliver value-add or strategic activities, guidance to clients and value-add and strategic services such as building overall content strategies that align with strategic GTM endeavors or helping clients build budgets, and integrated the content from influencer marketing across their programmatic landscape and at key stages in the funnel.
Technology and data are only part of the story. There is a reason influencers are often referred to as creators. Look for a partner that blends the science of data and technology with the art of experience and expertise, to give you a clear and customized picture of the real impact of your influencer marketing campaigns and strategies. At TapInfluence, we used our years of experience running influencer marketing campaigns to build the highest quality, opt-in influencer marketplace and influencer marketing automation platform in the industry. Coupled with our team of influencer marketing and content strategists, we give you the relationships, data, technology and expertise you need to succeed.
Do you have an idea for your first Influencer Marketing campaign? Are you looking to scale your current Influencer Marketing efforts? TapInfluence’s Influencer Marketing Automation Platform will allow you to take your Influencer Marketing to the next level.Take our self-guided product tour to see if an automated solution is right for you.
**Bonus Content for History Lovers: When did Influencer Marketing Start?
Marketing historians point to The People’s Choice as the first time the idea of influencer marketing was fully fleshed out. Though this book focused on political communication, the idea was universal—consumers respond better to the opinions of friends and family than those coming from large brands or political figures. The authors of The People’s Choice, Elihu Katz and Paul Felix Lazarfeld, argued that a two-step flow of communication (what they dubbed the Multistep Flow Model) would be a much more effective means of persuading the masses. As you might guess, the two-step flow entailed first marketing to influencers, and then incentivizing influencers to market to the wider public.
Though that book was written almost 70 years ago, recent studies have confirmed the ideas contained within The People’s Choice. Nielsen recently published a study that asked consumers which forms of advertising they trusted the most. The overwhelming winner was “Recommendations from People I Know” at 84%. Towards the bottom of the list were online banner ads (42%) and ads served in search engine results (48%), two staples of online marketing for the past few decades. Given these statistics, it’s a natural progression for brands to use influencers to spread brand messaging.
Though influencer marketing has existed in some form for the past half century, it wasn’t until the advent of social media that influencers were able to substantially increase their personal reach. This larger reach has increased the value of influencers to brands, and made it more lucrative to be an influencer.