Influencer marketing may be one of the biggest buzzwords in digital marketing, but it is also an underdeveloped discipline. This has kept the field dynamic and exciting as well as leaving it able to adapt easily.
Right now, influencer marketing is facing its biggest challenge yet. Proving success with limited tracking options will force the industry to look for alternatives. Here is a look at the potential future of influencer marketing.
We continue our conversation with Isaac Simpson looking at influencer marketing and the role data plays. If you missed Part One, you can find it here.
Organic Influencer Marketing
Without cookies and other tracking options, influencer marketing agencies will need to change their approach to proving success. Until now, data gathering and user tracking allowed marketers to prove to clients just how successful their approach had been. Like experiential marketing professionals use event impressions and ROI generated in the wake of an activation to prove their success, influencer marketing agencies could measure their effectiveness.
As the playing field is changing, influencer marketing could simply return to a more organic, or native, approach to measuring success. This is the basic model of asking influencers to hold a product in front of their face and post about it. As part of that approach, marketers would not use third parties to track engagement.
Third parties would be involved in selecting suitable influencers, using follower demographics and other relevant data like social rank.
(You can listen to the full episode of the podcast below.)
When Does an Influencer Become an Influencer?
Because influencer marketing is so novel, there is no set definition of what makes someone an influencer. Some industry experts assume that an influencer needs to have a minimum number of followers, perhaps half a million or a million, whereas others believe that it depends on the influencer’s niche.
Brands may naturally be more attracted to a higher number of followers, but many insiders believe that the dedication and engagement of those followers are more important. Arguably, a small number of followers that converts is more beneficial to the brand than a large number that does not convert views into sales, downloads, or website visits.
More brands are waking up to the emptiness of the pure follower number. They are seeing that some people are highly influential in their field without playing the influencer game. They post content when they feel there is something worth sharing as opposed to constant posting to be rewarded by algorithms.
Influencers as Channels
One prediction for the future of influencer marketing is that influencers will effectively become channels for content. Rather than being seen as individuals, they become a delivery mechanism for brand content. From a brand’s perspective, this would mean sponsoring a lifestyle rather than an individual in return for access to an audience that is interested in that lifestyle.
As a result, influencer marketing as a field may become more accessible to smaller, more targeted influencers. Right now, those people are losing out to others with a bigger audience. But as influencers are being perceived as more of a channel, the face of influencer marketing is about to change.
There are more exciting developments ahead in influencer marketing and beyond. We’ll be staying with similar topics for our next two blogs. Don’t miss out!
Isaac Simpson is a freelance copywriter and creative director at Gold Front. He has appeared as a marketing expert in The Boston Globe, Morning Consult, and DigiDay. To learn more about Isaac, visit his LinkedIn page.
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