Influencer marketing has been around for a few years, but with the current level of media coverage and discussion around it, it is fair to say that 2016 marks its growth inflection point.
No longer are marketers asking, "What's influencer marketing?" Today, many are asking, "Should we develop an influencer marketing channel?" or, "How much effort and budget should we put behind it this year?"
Embracing something new, regardless of how advantageous it might be, is difficult. It's change, and change in an organization is rarely a simple or efficient process. (I remember when we changed coffee suppliers; you'd think we were cutting salaries in half.)
Part of the resistance to doing anything more than experimenting with influencer marketing is the idea that it is simply a fad and support for it will fade. Marketers can be cynical by nature, and they have seen their share of new ideas come and go, so that is a fair concern. Why will influencer marketing be different? The answer rests in the dynamics that have made it so popular in the first place: Consumers are disengaged with traditional marketing practices, and they prefer to communicate with each other.
- A Nielsen study found that 92% trust the opinions of people they don't know over the assertions of brands.
- Sprout Social discovered that 71% of people turn to their social networks for pre-purchase guidance.
- A 2015 report by Adobe and PageFair found that US ad blocking grew 48% in the 12 months preceding June 2015, and there are now nearly 200 million adblock users around the world.
Moreover, the market is past the point of early adoption: Brands already vested in influencer marketing are achieving results, even more than what their own marketing channels are delivering. For example, Maybelline's company-run YouTube channel drives 11,000 views per video, whereas videos created by influencers for Maybelline generate an average of 1.4 million views per video.
With these hard-to-ignore results, and the mounting challenge of reaching consumers who are blocking ads and cutting cords with great enthusiasm, it's no wonder more brand marketers are looking to shift more resources to influencer campaigns.
The problem is, not everyone in the organization may be sold on embracing influencer marketing on a large scale, at least not quite yet.