As concerns about ad blocking grow, influencer marketing is becoming more important to brands. YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat have become popular channels, and new tools are making it easier to work with influencers, per the “Influencer Marketing for US Brands: The Platforms to Watch, and the Best Ways to Work with Creators” eMarketer report.
Additionally, there’s rising interest in influencer marketing among clients. The need for video content is a major driver. Partners and influencers that can help create some of these unique pieces of content is key.
According to Altimeter Group’s “State of Social Business” study, 35% of social media professionals polled in Q2 2015 considered their use of influencer marketing to be at a mature stage, and only 14% had no plans to use it as part of their social strategy.
In the past, working with influencers was time-consuming. Brands had to find and vet individual bloggers, strike deals with them and then devote significant resources to managing campaigns.
Now, there are an increasing number of talent agencies, networks and matchmaking services for influencer marketing. Some have been acquired by larger companies, such as Maker Studios (acquired by The Walt Disney Co. in March 2014) and Niche (acquired by Twitter in February 2015).
While there are no firm estimates of the size of the influencer marketing business, there are several signs that US marketers are spending more money on it. Augure’s study found that 61% of US marketers planned to increase influencer marketing budgets in 2015. This was a significantly greater percentage than in Europe, where 20% of respondents expected increases.
Influencers usually prefer monetary compensation over free products, ads on their blog or affiliate deals. When it began, it was all unpaid, because people saw it as more PR-focused than media-focused. Now, each of these influencers is a media channel, and media channels need to be compensated.