The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

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Influencer Marketing, what? Says no one anymore. A term that was pretty much non-existent a decade back is now a familiar buzzword, taking the world by a storm, one Insta-post a time. Today, as much as influencer marketing makes for an important aspect of global businesses’ marketing mix, it also plays a significant role in our everyday life. A whopping $5 billion was spent on Instagram influencer marketing in 2018. The platform’s popularity has also soared manifold amongst social media influencers.  The numbers speak for themselves – between 2013 and 2018, Instagram’s network grew from 90 million to an impressive 1000 million monthly active users.

The importance of influencer marketing in this day and age cannot be emphasized enough, really.  It has come to be a full-fledged and may we state, a very lucrative career option. So much so that universities are now offering specialty influencer marketing courses for budding influencers. One such example is that of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain that has on offer a course named ‘Intelligence Influencers Fashion & Beauty’ specifically designed for those looking to make a career as an influencer.

Instagram boasts of a massive user-base of 1 billion active monthly users today. It is not just the fastest growing, but also the most preferred platform for brands and influencers globally. Note that out of its huge user-base, only 39% are actual influencers, with micro influencers (those with less than 100k followers) making up for 99% of the category.

You might be surprised to know that brands trust micro influencers more than mega influencers (those with a follower count of more than 5 million) for their products & services promotion.  That’s right. In their quest for authentic content and engagement, brands are placing their bets on micro influencers as they are perceived to be more diligent than their more socially-popular counterpart. As a result, a majority of sponsored posts we see on Instagram can be tracked to micro influencers.

Today, brands are taking the idea of developing long-term relationships with influencers more seriously. With influencer marketing taking off to the next level, brands like Sephora have revamped their influencer marketing strategy to focus more on developing stronger, more lasting influencer relationships. In the quest to get better returns on their influencer partnerships, they’ve developed a multi-pronged, long -term strategy for their huge pool of micro-influencers versus the short-term strategy of the past. The idea is to not just forge stronger bonds with them but also play a larger role in their lives for a more diverse brand voice and meaningful content.

Owing to the increasing demand for influencers, marketing agencies are coming up with new products to entice brands and influencers alike. For instance, American creative agency, Village Marketing, has created an Instagram-friendly penthouse solely for Influencers & brands looking to make picture-perfect photographs.

As per the Global State of Influencer Marketing Report by Talkwalker, 61% of the total brands and agencies included in the study indicated towards a possible increase in their influencer marketing investment in 2019. With influencer marketing being viewed as a competitive advantage by one and all, it is clear that this year there will be opportunities galore for those looking to reap its benefits. With budget shifting from traditional marketing to influencer marketing, it is safe to conclude that influencer marketing has claimed its place as worthy of being a strategic priority for brands.

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