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Influencer marketing has been seen as a panacea of opportunities for brands but I believe it’s about to go through some of its biggest changes in 2019. Below I share what they are and how marketers can prepare for it.
Influencers are to be seen just as distributors of content
The social influencer marketing world has so far been propped up by the belief that influencers are modern day celebrities. Due to their perceived power with their audience and positive association that comes with brand collaborations, digital influencers could charge a premium to brands for collaboration. It is not unheard of for influencers to charge brands up to 5x their true worth as they could tout “the special relationship they have built” with their fans as justification.
My prediction for the future is that influencers are going to be seen as what they truly are: distribution channels. Brands will therefore have a standardised metric to measure influencer marketing which isn’t variably linked to the perceived relationship that an influencer has built with their fans. This approach is one we’ve taken at Fanbytes, merely distributing branded content into the Snapchat stories of Snapchat influencers. By doing this, we’re able to fit into the media plan of any brand as we present Fanbytes as a simple programmatic platform play comparable to how a brand might run programmatic on any ad platform. I believe we’re going to be seeing more of these models enter the influencer marketing world in 2019.
A mismatch between results
There is a lot of confusion as to how to measure results in the influencer world. This is primarily because both groups - influencers and brands have wildly different incentives. Influencers are incentivised to price by their highest numbers – which are subscribers and followers, whereas brands are incentivised to price by their KPI – which is generally engagement on the collaboration. Consequently, brands are resigned to merely playing to the influencers measure of success which often leads to sub par results.
I believe we’re going to be seeing more of a shared risk between brands and influencers. Rather than influencers charging via followers, I believe we will end up in a more mutually aligned market where brands pay for what universally matters – engagement. The great thing is that when you align incentives between brands and influencers, influencers then work harder to earn their keep and that hard work often then leads to better results for the brand. At Fanbytes, we’ve pioneered the advent of a cost per completed view business model to brands whilst also rewarding our influencers on the exact same metric resulting in influencers averaging 90% completion rates on our branded content. I’m keen to see more ad-tech companies adopt a similar model as I believe that doing this will create a fairer market for all parties involved.
The Facebookification of influencers
Right now, influencer marketing is somewhat of a black box, with vague top line metrics like ‘number of impressions’, ‘views’ and ‘number of clicks’ being the only real measurements of engagement.
At Fanbytes, we have a common refrain, we don’t care about how many people see your brand. Instead, we care how many people see your brand – focusing on something deeper than merely impression.
I believe in 2918 we’re going to be seeing what I call the Facebookification of influencers. With this, far deeper levels of transparency are going to exist in the influencer world, rather than merely top line metrics such as impressions and clicks. We’re going to be seeing metrics that offer more granularity in the same way Facebook does, you will be able to track things like consumer sentiment and audience psychographics making sure marketers can use influencers that reflect the brand requirements in a much more specific, emotional way. It’s my belief that whoever can bring this granularity at scale to the influencer world wins.
I’m very excited to see the future of influencer marketing in 2018 as it has the ability to completely overturn how modern day businesses engage with their customers -by treating influencers as distribution outlets, having a shared sense of risk between brand and influencers and the deep data driven attitude, I believe its only a matter of time till we see influencer marketing becoming even more of a major force in the marketing arsenal