Meet the 'celebs' of the Influencer market empowering brand-audience connect
With fans that run into thousands and even millions on social media platforms, these young creators are making a splash in the influencer industry. Meet the digital celebrities empowering brands
Some call them influencers while some define them as digital celebrities, either way they are rewriting the rules of marketing. Gen Z has an effortless connection with them because they speak a common language, one that is communicated through stories, picture perfect moments and relatable videos on social media.
Aided by the Internet growth in the country, the influencer market is growing in strength and popularity. According to Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report, India has the second largest Internet user base in the world. Of the 3.8 billion people using the Internet globally, nearly 12 percent belong to India, second only to China. The biggest beneficiary of this growth has been social media and in turn, the influencers who are on these platforms. Brand associations with leading influencers is now an established fact.
What is interesting is how from a largely experimental, unorganised industry it has found its way to becoming part of marketing budgets across sectors. FMCG, Auto, e-commerce, Lifestyle, Travel, Fashion are some of the big spenders, even the BFSI sector is increasing its footprint into the influencer market. As per some industry experts, brands are spending anywhere between 20 lakh to 2 crores on influencers and are witnessing a 2x growth (YoY) in budgets.
Word-of-mouth is the USP for influencer marketing believes Pranay Swarup, Co-Founder & CEO of Chtrbox.com, an Influencer Marketing Agency,“We termed influencer marketing also as people-powered marketing. It’s rooted in the oldest and most effective format of marketing, word-of-mouth. People trust people most, and with the rise of increasing amounts of time being spent on digital, the strengths of influencer led marketing cannot be ignored. I think it's disrupting the cost, speed and personalization of content like never before.”
What also works in favour of influencers versus the traditional formats says Satyen Poojary, Founder-The Creator Network, is that, “A digital influencer is a lot more believable than a mainline celebrity and a native influencer is a lot more relevant to their audience, One would probably not believe a Bollywood star or an athlete endorsing everything from a cheap soap to toothpaste and a budget phone, a budget car simultaneously. But a digital influencer might get away with it with a little more belief.”
Further, industry watchers are of the opinion that influencer’s popularity with brands is genre-specific. It's not just a game of subscribers or views anymore but how well these creators connect with the audience. While the list of influencers in India now runs into several thousands, we put together a list of some who are a hit with audiences and brands alike:
Bhuvan Bam (BB Ki Vines)
YouTube: 15.3M subscribers
Instagram: 7.6M followers
YouTube: 2.82M subscribers
Instagram: 926k followers
Prajakta Koli (MostlySane)
YouTube: 4.36M subscribers
Instagram: 1.7M Followers
YouTube: 164K subscribers
Instagram: 677K Followers
Youtube: 11.3k subscribers
Instagram: 637K Followers
YouTube: 1.17M subscribers
Sejal Kumar, YouTuber and Content creator says, “We know our audience better than anybody else and genuinely have a passion for creating content that would form connect with them. A brand collaboration with us, provides the brand an insight to the connection with our audience. Also, gives them specific targeting like nothing else.”
Brands that have a digitally-savvy audience allocate about 30% of their marketing budgets to digital shares. Pranay Swarup, Co-Founder & CEO of Chtrbox.com,added, “Out of their digital budgets, we are seeing brands spend 15 to 40% on influencer-led content and it's distribution. Brands have also been leveraging influencers for in-store and event activations successfully.”
While the growth in the industry has been impressive, it does however come with its own set of challenges. Measuring ROI, the problem of fake followers and likes, quality of content are some that plague the industry.
Vikas Gupta, Founder, Digit SQUAD elaborates further, “Access to products and brands is a big challenge for influencers. Without accessibility to these, their ability to review or comment is highly limited. Another challenge has been access to tools, resources and training for high quality content creation that can compete with the mainstream advertising machinery for the consumer's attention, lastly an informal environment that allows both genuine and the not-so-genuine influencers to operate, reduces highly critical trust and credibility factor within the influencer industry.”
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