In 2017, more businesses jumped on the bandwagon of influencer marketing and the marketing form is a growing business that is professionalizing quickly. What are the influencer marketing trends in 2018 and which developments can be expected?
To answer those questions, we identified the top 7 dominating trends that are likely to shape influencer marketing this year:
- Increasing budgets and more strategic approaches
- A focus on data-driven campaigns
- Integration of different influencers
- Relationship management dominating a one-off
- Transparency for brand reputation
- Authenticity of influencers as a key factor
- Relevant Instagram features
1 Increasing Budgets And Strategic Approaches
The expenses in influencer marketing are likely to increase. In 2017, it became a $1 billion industry and it might hit $2 billion by 2019. In the course of the last year, many world leading brands proved the efficiency of influencers.
But while the budget marketers spend on influencer marketing has still been lower compared to mainstream marketing, budgets will increase in 2018. 39% of marketers want to increase their budget for influencer marketing according to a survey by Linqia.
In this sense, influencer marketing continues to be an upward trend in 2018. Brands will deploy more campaigns and more partnerships forcing marketers to focus on a strategic approach instead of tactical tiptoeing step-by-step.
This strategy will probably include the outsourcing of campaigns as the business grows bigger. Agencies which solely focus on influencer marketing will get a bigger piece of the cake in the business in 2018. They are experts in leveraging successful campaigns and will take on an important role.
2 Data-Driven Campaigns
Digital is good but social is better as for example expenses on programmatic ads are decreasing. Social campaigns will dominate as an influencer marketing trend. Instagram celebrated 25 million businesses on their channel by the end of November 2017. In July of last year, the company still counted 15 million businesses. The growth demonstrates the relevance of Instagram for companies’ social media marketing.
Regarding influencer marketing, research and identification of the right influencer are still important and tools like our free Influencer Marketing and Influencer Relationship Management platform InfluencerDB facilitate this process. The typical mindset that influencer marketing can’t be measured has to change its course in 2018.
The usage of extensive and exact data is essential for all companies who want to work with influencers, as this field will need more professionalization in the future. New requirements will emerge, for influencers, agencies, and companies” (Robert Levenhagen, CEO InfluencerDB)
New strategies will be more data-driven, marketers will focus on campaign tracking, the measurement of KPIs, and finding the right tools to do so.
Feel free to check out our InfluencerDB software to see how brands monitor campaigns on Instagram (and feel free to contact us for a free demo)!
3 Integration Of Different Influencers
We identified micro-, macro-, and mega influencers and their respective advantages. Many brands won’t solely rely on one specific kind of influencer in 2018. Instead, it will be the year of integrating different influencers and considering the pyramid of influence to address all levels of consumers.
Strategies will be more holistic. Brands will invest in influencer advertising, marketing, and relations.
4 Relationship Management Dominates One-Off
With a more strategic and holistic approach, long-lasting relationships between influencers and brands will be in marketers’ and influencers’ interest in contrast to one-time partnerships. Brands will focus on always-on strategies.
As many relations start off with influencer advertising, 2017 was the year for brands to develop relations with some influencers that will strengthen in 2018.
Relations are a win-win situation for both sides: influencers are treated as partners and fans of brands rather than media platforms and both parties benefit from the others’s reputation. Relationship management also plays an important role regarding the next two upcoming influencer marketing trends.
5 Transparency: Essential For Brands’ Reputations
The hubbub the Federal Trade Commission triggered in the course of the last year regarding guidelines for disclosing partnerships in influencer marketing was to the dislike of some marketers.
Meanwhile, most brands are familiar with their responsibility in ensuring that the influencer discloses the partnership.
This year marketers know how important this transparency is for their brand’s reputation as consumers are getting more aware of this issue. Not being transparent can backdrop negatively on the brand.
This example also demonstrates in what way influencer marketing professionalizes. Two years ago the marketing form was still derided, meanwhile Influencer Marketing Academies pop up. Influencer marketing will become more and more important for politics and education.
6 Authenticity Of Influencers As A Key Factor
Original content is king!
During the infancy of influencer marketing, just a handful of good and big influencers were out there that companies worked with. Now, marketers have to sift the chaff from the wheat.
With a growing number of influencers, “data and insights about an influencer’s audience are [still] the most useful factors” according to PR Week, but influencer marketing won’t work if the influencer is not authentically talking about your brand.
Consumers will only rely on a recommendation in so far as it appeals trustworthy and not too salesy. And authentic influencers most often have a quite valuable audience who might even follow this influencer to a different platform.
To learn more about the strategies used by the top brands, watch our on-demand webinar during which we review the best-performing campaigns on Instagram.
7 What Features Will Be Used on Instagram?
As InfluencerDB is an expert in influencer marketing on Instagram, we’d also like to highlight the upcoming influencer marketing trends from a tech perspective. Instagram is constantly improving its business and Instagram Stories is a great part of it.
By August 2017, Instagram Stories had 250 million daily users compared to Snapchat’s 166 million. At the end of the year, Instagram also integrated the desktop view and story highlights which demonstrates the relevance of the feature. It will be used even more often in 2018 as it is especially valuable for peak events.
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Photo by @joselourenco Tons of tiny beads and careful tweezer precision allowed artist José Lourenço (@joselourenco) to construct this festive #myinstagramlogo. For 2018, José, who lives in Lisbon, Portugal, dreams of a “fairer world” and has a hope, specific to the Instagram community. “My hope is to continue to have the same joy I always have had when I open the application. I hope to be able to meet and interact with a larger number of people and make new friends — some of my best friends I met through Instagram.” 🎁✨ We’re inspired by the ways community members make Instagram’s look come to life. Follow along on #myinstagramlogo and add your own ideas. Photo by @joselourenco
Recently, Instagram enabled the function to follow hashtags as well. Innovative branded hashtags might be more valuable than before as consumers are now able to follow a specific campaign without the need to follow a brand’s channel.
The best is yet to come! Influencer marketing on Instagram is likely to even go a step further in 2018 and shorten the buyer’s journey. Instagram rolled out a shopping feature to approved businesses in the US. The new feature would facilitate a whole new shopping experience.
It allows brands to tag up to five products per post, so the consumer will see a description, the price and a direct link to a website on which the product can be purchased.
2017 already demonstrated some developments that are paving the path of influencer marketing towards a profession. The upcoming marketing trends in 2018 will shape this road with new data-driven strategies. Who knows? Influencer marketing might be a $2 billion industry by the end of this year.
The time is now! Data might be more important than ever in influencer marketing. Follow up new ideas and strategies that will form influencer marketing in 2018 and be part of these developments.