It's nearing the end of the year, and to tell you that we've read and analysed a great deal of research on Infulencer marketing throughout 2016 would be an understatement. 2016 was the year influencer marketing made its mark. Influencer marketing was impossible to ignore; with a flood of companies who rushed to try it out, social media personalities only become richer, larger companies grew even more whilst smaller brands finally received the attention they deserved.
Next year won't be all that different, but we will see influencer marketing shift from what seamed to be merely a "trend" or "phase" to a necessity for brands who want to remain contenders. But what should we expect from the whole influencer marketing industry in 2017?
1. Audience Matching will become Key
Audience will become much more important than the influencer. Brands will start using influencers who’s followers match their ideal target market. They will shift away from identifying influencers who may resemble their target market and focus on the influencer’s audience instead. Influencer Marketing Platforms will also implement this by giving brands and marketers the whole picture, such as the interests of the influencer’s audience.
2. The Smallest will have the Biggest Power…
Micro-influencers, influencers with a smaller following yet targeted and more engaged audience will finally be acknowledged and appreciated. “The rise of the micro-influencers” is a term you’ve probably had enough of seeing and hearing. But 2017 is the year micro-influencers will actually rise. Many more micro-influencers will be approached in the next year and will form the ideal collaboration for most brands.
3. … Whilst the Celebrity will become increasingly weaker
On the contrary the power celebrities have, won’t be as immense in 2017. Celebrity endorsements failing to be believable, following a few hiccups of celebrities endorsing products they don’t actually use or genuinely like (Scott Disick and Naomi Campbell just to name a few). Unlike smaller influencers, celebrities lack the authenticity, quality content, and targeted audience. Brands will finally realize that fame and reach doesn’t lead to direct sales, but that engagement and a targeted audience are better indicators for sales.
4. We will see many more #ads
In 2016 there was a great wave of hype surrounding the introduction of the FTC guidelines. Hashtags such as #sponsored #advertisement #promo will start appearing on posts more often. Following letters from Public Citizen, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will have no option but start taking action on any posts which are undisclosed, paid endorsements. People have the right to know when they are being exposed to ads, and 2017 will be the year social media users will notice more ads appearing on their small screens from their social media personalities.
5. Instant ads will become more attractive…
Following the implementation and success of Instagram stories, live video on both Instagram and Facebook, we will be seeing a lot more real time advertisements. Instagram users, whether celebrities, influencers or mere users claim that their Instagram stories receive many more views, rather than their posts on the platform. Livestreaming will shift to mainstream and brands, will in turn favour the 24 hour lasting, more engaging advertisement.
6. …And Brands' creative input will die down
Live –instant ads will lead to sponsored content being less thought out and more “spare of the moment”. Meaning that brands will have to hold back on their creative input (which annoys influencers anyway) and will have to allow influencers to produce content which comes naturally and is fitting to their personality.
7. Rapport before the report
Brands focusing solely on their one-off collaborations with influencers rather than establishing a longer term brand/influencer relationship will have realised that that isn’t working out. In 2017 Brands will focus on keeping in touch and building longer lasting relationships with influencers, in their aim to collaborate with them more often and with a higher success rate.
8. Quality First And Foremost
With social media platforms on the rise, and more posts being published, consumers will be drawn to higher-quality content and will demand a richer experience. Consumers will become curious and content which doesn’t come across as authentic will be dismissed. Quality of content will become key to maintaining an engaged audience so brands and influencers will raise the bar
9. A Price for All
As Influencer marketing becomes more popular, pricing, how much influencers should be paid and how much brands should pay will be a lot more clear-cut. The significance of each influencers following, engagement, style, genre, audience demographics will be measured and there will more-or-less be a standardised rate for the value of influencers. With many more collaborations taking place, we will have an accurate pricing guideline to stick to. Influencers will prompt the standardisation of pricing by quoting, justifying and finally sticking to their own rates.
10. The only Way is up for Influencer Marketing
More brands will be turning to influencer marketing. Many brands have already set their budget aside for their influencer marketing schemes, whilst others have increased their budgets for 2017. Likewise influencer marketing platforms like ZINE which solve the challenges brands come across will only become more popular, and continue to grow internally; increasingly offering more services and continually releasing new features.