Influencer marketing specialist firm TapInfluence has unveiled its annual 2017 “Tap Ten” predictions for digital marketers about the state of the influencer marketing industry. Forrester research predicts digital advertising spend will overtake traditional advertising by the end of 2016 with the margin expected to grow in 2017. Furthermore, according to research company KPCB, adblocking adoption, particularly via mobile, is also expected to pick up aggressively (Adblocking usage through mobile is currently at an estimated 420MM worldwide).
In a recent eMarketer survey, 84 percent of marketers are expected to take on influencer marketing in the next 12 months. The stats are all pointing towards exponential growth in influencer marketing, the problem is digital marketers are still challenged with how to start in this nascent space. With extensive experience in the industry, the TapInfluence insights team has identified it’s top 10 trends for the new year with key insights to inform marketers’ 2017 digital marketing strategies.
Leading the “Tap Ten” announcement is TapInfluence CEO Promise Phelon. Over the past year alone, Phelon has seen influencer assignments grow in TapInfluence by almost 90 percent and expects growth to continue in 2017.
“TapInfluence has been setting the standard for influencer marketing and redefining how marketers and brands reach consumers. Traditional advertising isn’t paying the dividends it once did and we proved this in a study with Nielsen Catalina,” said Phelon, in a news release. “Consumers don’t listen to brands because they’re not human. Influencers are real people, and that’s why they are able to engage their audiences. The influencer marketing space is so new that marketing executives are still doing many things incorrectly. Our 2017 predictions are the quintessential guide that will help marketers move the needle and drive sales.”
The “Tap Ten” 2017 influencer marketing predictions include:
Authenticity Will Be Questioned—After decades of use, the veneer on celebrity endorsements will finally crack and brands will come to realize that fame does not automatically bring influence. Celebrity endorsements are rarely believable and they are not quality content creators by trade. Influencers can deliver high-quality content that is better targeted to specific consumer needs.
Agencies Who Build Practices Around Influencer Marketing Will Win—Agencies that are already investing in influencer marketing as a core competency and building practices at scale will win business and drive their own revenue/growth. The focus here will rely on data and transparency, facilitated by influencer marketing automation platforms. Early adoption is the key. Transparency in value and price are paramount. And, real measurement is table stakes.
Marketing Tech Will Become Accessible and Further Differentiate Challenger Brands—With limited resources, smaller brands need efficient ways of reaching the right consumers in order to steal share away from established competitors. They will seek solutions that reduce strain on their human resources without straining their budgets, squeezing the highest possible ROI out of any campaign and marketing spend. These brands will turn to platforms with experience, robust technology, and actionable data to create affordable and predictable programs that produce results.
Scalable Influencer Marketing Will Integrate into the Martech Stack—Increasing popularity of influencer marketing has created increased demand for efficiencies and IM technology. Marketers desperately need ways to see the whole landscape, and we predict rapid integrations between influencer marketing technology and other business systems as well as business intelligence (BI) platforms. CMO martech investment is expected to grow to a whopping $32B by 2018. With revenue attribution as the holy grail, influencer marketing platforms that talk to these other platforms—sharing content, performance data, insights and more—dramatically increase their value to organizations.
Influencer Marketing Will Penetrate B2B—The B2B and B2C paths to purchase are converging just as consumer’s personal and professional lives become more intertwined. B2B marketers are recognizing that their customers real consumers who resist brand messaging, do their homework, and investigate B2B brands long before they fall into the dreaded funnel.
Brands Will Connect the Dots Between Offline and Online—Influencers have the power to bridge that gap and marketers will leverage online influencers to spark offline action from consumers. Product-specific influencer content can serve as point-of-sale persuasion to consumers in physical stores. Recent data has also proven that online influencer content has a powerful and trackable effect, not only on e-commerce, but on offline sales as well. A 2016 study with Nielsen Catalina Solutions proved that sponsored blogs and social media posts by influencers increased purchases of the advertised product and prompted a noticeable shift away from competitors’ products—even by those who had been loyal to competitors previously.
Real Time Social Channels Will Require Brands to Give up Creative Control— Influencers will no longer accept every opportunity that is presented to them. They are becoming selective with partnerships and maintaining authenticity in the content they create for their audience. Brands must accept that to be successful, they must allow influencers to stay true to their own personality—and that means reigning in the urge to dictate content to influencers or heavily edit what they create. In 2017, the real-time social platforms will force brands to truly step out of the creative process in order to take advantage of the quick pace.
Audience Will Become More Important Than Influencer—Audience targeting in influencer marketing demonstrates the natural application of traditional marketing strategy to this emerging discipline. Marketers will need to shift away from choosing influencers who resemble a target consumer, and instead, build campaigns based on an influencer’s audience and performance data. As a result, we will see platforms that provide the whole picture gain prominence and tools that only provide one piece of the puzzle, such as influencer identification tools, fade into the background.
People Will Call a Time-out on Traditional Social Engagement Metrics—By applying the model for traditional advertisements to influencer marketing, many marketers have gotten hung up on outdated metrics. In 2017, we’ll see the tides start to turn:
EMV and TMV: As traditional media values become less relevant, people are realizing the fallacy of any metrics based on them. Social media is taking the lead on developing measures that track the types of actions that matter in the digital era.
Views: In the era of traditional media, views mattered because they were as deep as a marketer could hope to understand. Content was not interactive, so there was no need for metrics that measured interaction. The digital era is different and in 2017 marketers will abandon views as an acceptable performance metric and turn instead to metrics that speak to real engagement with content: likes, shares, comments, and clickthroughs.
As top brands and agencies lean in to influencer marketing, they will need confirmation that it’s actually affecting their bottom line. Program performance (using quantitative metrics like Cost Per Engagement), as well as sales and revenue lift will be critical to justify bigger budgets for influencer marketing to CFO’s and Strategic CMO’s.
Micro-Influencers Will Stake Their Claim—Niche-focused creators who will be recognized as the powerhouse marketing channels that they are. Marketers will realize that true influence means an engaged audience and authentic conversations, not necessarily a massive following that you find with famous bloggers, high-reach social media stars, traditional celebrities.
Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel