Report: Influencer Marketing Is Quickly Maturing, But There Will Be Plenty of Awkward Growing Pains in 2019

Most Brands Plan to Spend More on Influencer Marketing in 2019… but Is It Paying Off?

Evaluating how companies are evolving influencer marketing strategies in 2019, leading social listening and analytics platform Talkwalker conducted a global survey of over 800 marketing and PR professionals. The report, released, illustrates findings that point to an inevitable maturing of influencer marketing but find that many experts suggest that brands will need to significantly improve the authenticity and evaluation of their investments.

One key takeaway from the report is a newfound focus on authenticity over appearance, and on quality over quantity, when it comes to selecting mutually-beneficial promotional partnerships between influencers and brands.

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“You can’t just pick a celebrity you like and hope for the best,” says Brittany McKone, VP of Analytics at Weber Shandwick. “It is important that we use data and analytics to find the right influencers and measure that it is successful, so marketers continue to see real results.”

After several recent influencer marketing shams and scams — from the high-profile fraud of the Fyre Festival and the “luxury” campaign from Payless to the “pay but no play” antics of Luka Sabbat — brands and influencers alike are more focused on making sure their ideals and values are in sync more than ever before. For example, Nike’s sales reportedly jumped 31% following their ad campaign highlighting the civil rights activism of Colin Kaepernick, proving that the right influencer pairing can measurably resonate with a brand’s target audience.

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“The top brands are collaborating with influencers [on] the most innovative and exciting ways to grab attention. This will provide an actual competitive advantage.” — Harry Hugo, Co-founder of the Goat Agency & Board Member of the Business of Influencers

However, there’s still a big problem to be solved: finding the best way to measure the impact of an influencer campaign, when aesthetics can often affect more than a brand’s bottom line.

“One big gap we see is between intent and impact,” says Todd Grossman, CEO Americas at Talkwalker. “In our survey, 69% of respondents said influencer marketing is among their top priorities for 2019, and 61% said they plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. But nearly 40% also said measuring the ROI of these campaigns is a major challenge. This shows that while brands are eager to leverage the power of influencers, many of them haven’t yet developed a reliable measurement and management strategy, which makes planning and tracking these types of campaigns more difficult.”

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