The Shift to Influencer Marketing
One of the challenges marketers face on a daily basis is how to have your message break through the clutter and be the one that consumers remember. Facebook has recently stated that with their current algorithm, they are maxed out for the number of ads being shown in News Feeds. Facebook is also testing out a new feature where users can block ad categories (currently the only categories that can be blocked are ads related to alcohol and parenting). There is also that pesky pay-to-play barrier to contend with if you don’t have a large digital marketing budget. In addition to the challenges Facebook poses for digital marketers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is reporting that 26% of desktop users and 15% of mobile users have an ad blocker in place to remove display ads from websites. With the barriers on Facebook and the increased use of ad blockers , it comes at no surprise that more marketing dollars are being allocated to influencer marketing.
Whether it’s a popular blogger, vlogger, or Instagram account, these influencers have built in audiences of hundreds of thousands to millions of followers who hang on to their every post. This past year, there has been a lot of buzz about influencer marketing in part due to the increased regulations from the FTC regarding influencer marketing. The biggest story from the past year involved Lord & Taylor paying influencers to post on Instagram, but not disclosing that they were being paid. This is where the #ad and #sponsored hashtags come into play. However, these regulations should not send you running for the hills if the opportunity arises to partner with an influencer that makes sense. In many cases, such as the popular makeup vlogger James Charles who became the first Coverboy for Covergirl, these social influencers are becoming the official face of a brand.
When researching products, influencers are often viewed as a trusted source of information in addition to close friends, when it comes to recommendations. According to a study done by Olapic, Millennials are more likely to trust user generated content and view UGC as more authentic over branded content. Having “authentic” information from various influencers on the web regarding your brand or product is essential now that many people research almost everything they purchase. With a smartphone in almost everyone’s back pocket, it is important to consider what information is out there.