Influencer marketing grew exponentially in 2016 and this trend is expected to continue in 2017. The influencer marketing space has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry as per eMarketer and 90% of the marketers will run an influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months as per a recent poll of 263 marketers in India by Blogmint.
Influencer Marketing appeals to marketers as it empowers them to break the social clutter and connect with consumers in a meaningful fashion through authentic storytelling, helps them bridge the gap between offline and online and at the same time circumvents the aggressively increasing ad blocking software adoption.
2016 saw influencer programs become more expensive and influencer platforms solved the underlying problems of influencer discovery and tracking that pushed its adoption. How will the influencer marketing industry shift from here? Here’s a look at the five key trends that will shape up influencer marketing in 2017:
1. Influencer Marketing goes mainstream in 2017:
Influencer marketing will become a regular part of the Social and Video digital ad spends of businesses in 2017. Social Media and/or Corporate Communication team will own influencer programs this year as opposed to it being a one-off activity spearheaded by CXOs in 2016. As per Blogmint’s Influencer Marketing Outlook 2017, the number of businesses that ‘didn’t execute any Influencer Marketing campaign’ went down from 85% in 2015 to 57% in 2016 and will be under 50% in 2017. Influencer engagements will not be restricted to niche product and digital focused companies, but right from services to retail to real estate companies will integrate it as part of their integrated marketing strategy in 2017.
2. Facebookers and LIVE performers will be the rising social stars:
While Instagramers and YouTubers continue to be in demand, it’s the Facebookers and Live Performers (FB Live, Insta Live, Periscope) that will be most sought-after in 2017. With Influencer Marketing going mainstream, businesses will look at tapping customers via Influencer Marketing not only in metropolitan cities, but also in urban, semi-urban and rural centres. Facebook, with its high level of penetration in the latter two, will see the rise of Facebook influencers this year.
3. Micro-influencers will be the new influencers:
Micro-influencers will be the new face of influencers. Consumers are more engaged and likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation of whom they consider as domain expert and/or are more closely associated with. As higher affinity implies higher influence, we will witness many of the successful influencer marketing programs this year and will engage smaller influencers for more authentic appeal.
4. Engagement continues to be the most important success metric:
Engagement continues to be the most important success metric for influencer programs in 2017. However, businesses would analyse the success based on end-result along with likes, shares and comments, which are awareness driven. Influencers will explore mixing creativity with a layer of personalised and experience driven content so that it’s not only engaging to their readers, but also result oriented.
5. Long-term association:
Early adopters have learnt the hard way that treating influencer relationships like one-night stands isn’t the best approach. Businesses in 2017 will instead explore establishing long term associations with influencers focusing on building brand advocates. 81% of businesses would like to develop an exclusive long term association with influencers as it helps in bringing more authenticity and adds to brand recall, as per Influencer Marketing Outlook 2017 survey.