The Evolution of Influencer Marketing – What we will see in 2018


Influencer Marketing is quickly becoming a necessary element to any marketing campaign. The market—estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2017 and set to reach $10 billion by 2020—will continue to see a high rate of growth in the industry.* Because of this, industry research shows marketers are increasing their influencer budgets year over year. In 2017 alone, 48% of marketers increased their yearly budgets to include more influencer engagements. ** Since influencer marketing is an ever-evolving strategy, we’ve put together our predictions for where we see the industry heading in the near future.


  1. Micro social influencers with dedicated followers will become more widely used

Micro social influencers are social media users who have 1,000-2,000 extremely dedicated followers. Their posts get very high engagement because the message is coming from someone which they have a personal connection. Friends and family tend to be more easily influenced by a micro influencer than someone with a million followers because once an influencer gets to “celebrity status”, they appear to be unreachable.


There is a lot of confusing information out there on whether engaging micro influencers is a viable strategy. Micros focus on quality over quantity. Utilizing such a focused audience can be a great way to spread the word about contests on social media, share a coupon or promotion, or reach folks on a hyper-local level. Don’t count them out, the little guys can also be powerful!


  1. Podcasts and videos to interject personality

Influencers will need to start relying more on their personalities in video content to build their brand and set them apart. Using their voice, along with their aesthetic, will be key in staying ahead. Video is becoming a huge component for influencers and their audience, whether it’s cooking videos, Instagram stories or Facebook Lives, it’s something brands are asking for more and more as target audiences skew Millennial or younger.


  1. Brands paying more money for thoughtful content and targeted reach

Paying a social influencer for customized content that reaches a very targeted demographic can be more cost effective than placing an ad in a magazine to reach a broader audience. We all know content is king, and authentic, first-person content is the most persuasive kind. We will see brands becoming more selective in choosing influencers and will choose fewer to work with.


More brands will begin to exclusively use one or two influencers as ambassadors as opposed to one-off engagements with many influencers. Just 3% of consumers are influenced by celebrity endorsements in their product purchase decisions** so we predict brands will choose branded content with digital influencers over celebrities. We will start to see influencers in online and print advertisements, brand websites, brand social channel takeovers, etc. not only because of their impact, but because they are less expensive than celebrity endorsers.


  1. More measurable results with analytics

Large followings and beautiful photos are the old way of vetting influencers. Awareness and impressions are no longer the standard in reporting on an influencer campaign. Brands want to see real ROI and movement from influencer efforts, and we are starting to measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing by the number of KPIs met. Agencies and brands will be taking a much closer look at analytics and get better at knowing how to request these metrics from influencers. Influencers are willing to share back-end analytics if you ask. It’s possible to deliver insights beyond the old standard by measuring share of voice, coupon redemptions, engagement and shares, and conversions by putting UTM parameters in place and setting up Google Analytics dashboards. These will become the norm in reporting results to clients, and agencies and brands alike will be more adept at using SAAS tools for accurate metrics.


Erica Gatlin is Director of Influencer Marketing for Agency 451 and Creator of Wildfire.

*Source: Adweek, Influencer Marketing in 2018: Becoming and efficient Marketplace, January 2018

**Source: Linquia, “The State of Influencer Marketing 2017” Nov. 2016

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