If you take a moment to think about the history of advertising, you’ll realize that ads have become increasingly targeted and more personal. When televisions had just a few channels, advertisers could reach a large portion of the population with a 30-second spot. As a result, ads were designed to appeal to a broad base of viewers.
With more channels came more specific ads based on the demographics associated with each channel. Once social networks became popular, advertisers had even more choice as to who they could target. As a result, messages became even more personal.
Influencer marketing is the latest development in a long history of ever more personal, and thus more effective, ads. Rather than rely on algorithms developed by social networks, or demographic data provided by television stations, advertisers can use influencers and micro-influencers to reach the right prospects with the right message.
1. Digital advertising is becoming increasingly crowded.
Last year, Facebook generated over $40 billion in revenue, thanks in large part to online advertising. Google’s advertising revenue amounted to nearly $80 billion last year. Both Google and Facebook expect advertising revenue to grow in the near future, which means that the world of digital advertising is becoming increasingly crowded, and thus more expensive.
While influencer marketing is gaining in popularity, it is still a comparatively nascent marketing tactic. There are countless influencers and micro-influencers who are willing to work with brands in exchange for free products or social media shout-outs. Good luck making that sort of arrangement with one of the big digital-advertising platforms!
2. Younger demographics eschew traditional ads.
Younger demographics simply hate online ads. One study found that roughly 75 percent of Gen Zers dislike online search or video ads, compared to 58 percent of millennials. As a result, it’s no surprise that 70 percent of Gen Zers are actively taking measures to avoid online ads, compared to 30 percent of the general population.
While Gen Zers detest traditional advertising formats that use trite copy and visuals to promote products or services, they don’t mind influencer marketing promotion. In fact, brands have found remarkable success using influencers who appeal to Generation Z, like Manny Gutierrez (an Instagram beauty boy) and Logan Paul (a YouTube vlogger).
3. Television and print ads will soon be extinct.
In Q1 2017, Netflix earned more subscribers than cable providers in the United States. Cable has been on a slow decline since 2012 thanks to the rise of streaming video services like Netflix. Conventional television is dying a slow death.
Similarly, print publications are slowly going extinct. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that newspaper circulation is falling fast. In 2000 (a peak year for circulation), roughly 60 million homes subscribed to a print newspaper. Last year that number was below 40 million and falling fast.
4. Traditional advertising is channel dependent. Influencer advertising is channel agnostic.
It can be dangerous to build a business upon a handful of channels controlled by tech goliaths. Take the case of recent changes to Google’s search algorithm. The changes, known as Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda, caused businesses to lose prominent organic search rankings. As a result, these businesses lost customers.
Influencer marketing is not dependent on a specific channel to be successful. Today, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are prominent channels through which influencers can connect with their audiences; tomorrow there’s no telling what channels might be in vogue.
Marketers who use influencers can develop advertising strategies without needing to rely on channels to see success.
5. Influencers can go above and beyond to ensure success.
Unless your organization is investing 6 digits per month in online advertising, online advertisers aren’t going to help you to ensure successful outcomes. Influencers, on the other hand, are motivated to ensure that your business sees success.
After all, influencers are dependent on clients to build a strong reputation, whereas large online advertisers have achieved such remarkable scale that they are less focused on ensuring advertisers are successful.
It’s not uncommon for good influencers to continue to promote products or services even after their contract has run its course in an effort to make clients happy. You’ll never experience that with Google or Facebook.
6. Content from influencers can be quickly repurposed.
Content produced by influencers on behalf of your brand can be repurposed to create evergreen content that can attract visitors, leads and customers to your website. For example, a member of your organization’s leadership team could interview the influencer with whom you’re working.
That interview can be turned into a video, with clips shared on social networks. The audio portion of the interview could be turned into a podcast, and the video could be transcribed to become a blog post or ebook.
Your social media team could re-share posts created by the influencer, and any endorsements of your product or service made by the influencer could be referenced on your website as social proof.
7. Influencer marketing is easy to measure.
There’s a belief among some marketers that influencer marketing programs are difficult to measure. In reality, though, measuring influencer marketing initiatives can be easier than measuring other online advertising campaigns.
Start with establishing a measurable goal before working with an influencer, then communicate this goal to the influencer to ensure everyone is aligned. During the campaign, most influencers will help marketers to measure campaign success, meaning that both parties could in theory collect performance data in real time. However, an influencer marketing platform like ours, Brandmates, could measure performance more precisely.
Once the campaign has concluded, marketers should be able to know if the engagement was successful thanks to data collected from both the influencer and the brand, or from a tool like Brandmates.
Influencer marketing is a uniquely valuable advertising technique that appeals to young, savvy internet users. As print and television ads decline, and as digital advertising becomes increasingly crowded, smart marketers are turning to influencer marketing because it is measurable, channel agnostic and, most important of all, effective.