What is Influencer Marketing in 2018?

There’s a lot of hype around influencer marketing. In 2017, Digital ad spending surpassed more traditional advertising methods. In 2018, that gap is only going to widen. Creators are effectively controlling a larger share of the advertising marketplace than ever before. Furthermore, with so many platforms and increasing ease of access to technology, there are more influencers than meet the eye. Someone close to you probably creates content to supplement their income!

All these influencers around us create a world ripe for collaboration with marketers to drive awesome results for brands and consumers. According to a Nielsen Study, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from a friend or someone close to them.

State of Influencer

If there was one phrase to define influencer marketing in 2017 and early 2018 it’d be “growing pains.” Several events this past year alone have forced content giants such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat to seriously reckon with the large impact content has on society.

From YouTube algorithms suggesting inappropriate content, to Facebook’s role in contributing to toxic echo-chambers, can Influencer Marketing be a safe bet for brands?

What is Influencer Marketing?

To get to the bottom of this, we have to ask: what even is influencer marketing? Simply put: influencer marketing is marketing that is focused on influential people that have influence over a set of potential buyers, as opposed to marketing to the potential buyers themselves.

It is the process of marketers or agencies collaborating with creators across social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Snapchat to build stories around brands that will delight customers and deliver great outcomes. For influencer marketing: authenticity is the name of the game. In fact, 84% of millennials say that user-generated content has some influence on what they buy.

Influencer marketing can help your brand win in the following ways:

  • Increase SEO for your brand through YouTube search
  • Attain social saturation and boost word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Offer social proof of brand success

Sounds simple right? Influencer Marketing is harder than it looks.

New Space, Solidifying Key Priorities

Considering that most social media platforms launched recently, the field of influencer marketing is relatively new.

Marketers who have traditionally relied on TV advertising, native advertising on platforms like Facebook, or advertising on Google, are learning how to effectively build programs and pursue influencers. When surveyed we consistently saw four key priorities that marketers are focused on:

Making your brand and offers stand out

Many marketers are tapping into influencer marketing, which means you need to actively position your pitch to influencers in a way that makes your brand and products exciting for them to want to collaborate. Getting the pitch right can also bring the price down.

Efficiently using your time

When people first start, they can spend countless hours searching for influencers, sending old emails, and going back and forth. The time adds up. Finding great platform partners who can help shoulder a lot of the burden can accelerate your efforts and scale the channel faster.

Testing various approaches to partnering with influencers

When historical metrics are well understood, there can be a lot of upside in a flat fee arrangement. For others, mitigating risk with a performance aspect can be the right strategy.

Ensuring audience is authentic

Finding a partner who can help with audience verification is key. Additionally, focusing on exceptional creative and scaling it with paid promotion is an effective way to mitigate low engagement or even a fake audience.

For influencer marketing to work: brands need to know what platforms are effective in terms of ROI, where quality influencers actually are, and how they can make the process as efficient as possible.

Adding Clarity to the Influencer Business

To get a better sense of what the Influencer Marketing business looks like in 2018, we surveyed over 450 social media influencers—as well as gathered thoughts from 49 brand marketers—to gain a better insight on what platforms influencers are using, how collaborations are built, and what to expect from the space in 2018.

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Influence is a business. Creators care about their own metrics as much as marketers do. 80% of influencers surveyed claim Instagram is either an extremely effective or a quite effective platform for engaging their audiences. 60% of influencers felt this way about YouTube. On the flipside, just over 70% of creators say that Snapchat is either slightly effective or simply not effective at all.

Marketers looking to build influencer campaigns should prioritize their influencer search on Instagram and YouTube.

Furthermore, influencers are mercenaries, working with as many as 15 brands over 6 months. However, 38% of influencers only publish 2-4 sponsored posts a month so as not to oversaturate their feed with sponsored content. Influencer outreach initiatives should kick off several months before marketing campaigns are published.

In short:

  • Instagram and YouTube drives the most engagement from audiences.
  • Base relationships with influencers on authenticity.
  • Build campaigns and schedule creators early.
  • Create lasting value for creators.

Some of Our Favorite Brands Running Influencer Campaigns

Brands of all industries are utilizing Influencer Marketing to reach their goals. Whether they simply needed an all-in-one solution or hands-on support, these are some great brands that used Grapevine’s platform for influencer success.


Building Brand Trust with Influencer Authenticity

Society6 seeks to empower independent artists around the world by selling their high-quality art prints, throw blankets, and more to millennial consumers looking for great products at great prices. For millennials, the brands they choose to support and wear are signifiers of their personal identities.

Despite this, millennials are cautious with their personal security. This means that building trustworthy e-commerce campaigns appealing to millennials can be difficult. So how does a brand break the trust barrier with a market that has a spending power of $2.45 trillion? Enter Instagram and YouTube Influencer Marketing

Although the team at Society6 recognized the effectiveness and long term opportunities that come from collaborating with YouTube Marketing Influencers to create authentic, long-tail content they needed an end-to-end platform that would give them flexibility and control over their programs.

With a blend of technology, data, and support from the Grapevine Influencer Marketing platform, Society6 delivered over 7,000 clicks to their landing pages.

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Sue & Daughters

Leveraging Influencers to Beat Competitors with a Small Budget

Sue Ismiel is passionate about natural health and helping people look good and feel great. That’s why she created Nad’s Hair Removal products in 1992, and since then, Sue & Daughters has built a global empire to solve the problem of unwanted hair for women and men around the world. It’s no secret: millennial women aged 18-35 are the biggest buyers in the beauty market, with a collective buying power of over $13 billion dollars.

However, because of the huge profit potential in the beauty and wellness industry, the competition for consumer attention is fierce. Furthermore, the tremendous ad spends of big conglomerate beauty brands ensure that smaller brands stand almost zero chance of remaining competitive.

For Baray, Sue & Daughters’ brand manager the key to winning over an engaged audience was Influencer Marketing. “We found that YouTube beauty influencers have been able to gain loyal followers by providing in-depth, informative and honest reviews about the beauty products they use every day, as well as mention noteworthy products that stand out in the category,” Baray recounts. “We felt this was a great opportunity for us to develop not only brand awareness, but also word-of-mouth exposure and credibility.”

With little experience in finding the right influencers, Baray and her team turned to the Grapevine platform to generate over one million views on videos featuring their products.

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Trends to be Aware of

Owing to its growing popularity, 44% of marketers surveyed stated, “influencer marketing will become a tactic across all marketing campaigns.” If you’re considering launching your own campaigns, here are some things you should be careful of:

Appropriate Content

From adjusting creator monetization schemes, to investing more in censorship, it’s getting easier and easier to run afoul of the rules. Definitely bookmark our community guidelines digest to keep yourself up to speed. Furthemore, while 73% of brands claim that they ensure brand-safe content through active campaign policing, that gets unsustainable as influencer programs scale. Consider investing in a platform (such as the Grapevine Influencer Marketing platform) that features automatic FCC-compliance monitoring.

The Rise of Micro-Influencers

Influencer Marketing is a field that is already saturated with influencers. Sure, depending on your goals you might need creators with follower counts of up to a million, but micro-influencers can also yield more engagement for your campaigns. Try to mix in both types of influencers when building campaigns.

Want to learn more about if Influencer Marketing is right for your brand? Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts today.

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