Large brands have already done their test campaigns and figured out its viability. They've seen the results of influencer marketing, and are impressed enough to start shifting more of their Facebook, Google, and TV budgets towards it.
According to Mediakix, Instagram influencer marketing along is now a billion-dollar industry, and is on track to reach $2B by just 2019. Plus research from Bloglovin has shown that up to 63% of marketers are increasing their influencer marketing budgets.
If you still think it's too soon to pay attention, you've already missed opportunities to build key relationships. After all, if big brands are already using this, what have you missed out on as a small business if you're not?
If after hearing the buzzword for years, you've written this off as a trend, perhaps a bit more persuasion can change your mind.
The results you'll see from influencer marketing campaigns will be long-term, making it one of the best deals in advertising. Unlike paid media, the content will continue bring results long after the campaign has ended.
Relatable, a leading influencer marketing agency that's worked with household-name brands like Lego and Google, found that within six months of an influencer marketing video being posted, 50% of views came within the first two weeks, but the other 50% came in over the next five and a half months.
"Influencer marketing's most amazing results really come in the long-tail," Relatable co-founder Aron Levin likes to say.
As an influencer's content and brand builds momentum, their older content will continue to be discovered and bring awareness, traffic, or even sales.
For example, this YouTube video sponsored by Aweber has earned an average of 150 views per day since it was published and will continue increasing as the channel's following grows.
As more brands take influencer marketing seriously, it's also becoming more obvious how much more cost effective and impactful it is. Influencer marketing can beat than your best performing Facebook ad, making it perfect for small businesses trying to scale growth.
For example, Relatable's campaigns and collaborations have been able to beat Facebook CPM and CPC with brands of all sizes, including rising startups such as Lifesum. In fact, the ROI of influencer marketing can reach up to 11x higher than other forms of digital marketing, with other studies reporting up to 600% returns.
With other forms of marketing, you have to split your budget between creative production and distribution:
Partnering with influencers scales back the production cost since they're creating the content. This frees up resource to invest in your distribution, while adding the influencers' own audiences as added distribution networks.
As a small business with limited resources and budgets, this can act as a way to grow your team working on a given campaign.
When Relatable led a campaign for Polaroid Eyewear, for example, they enlisted over 250 influencers who not only created the content that made up the campaign, but also distributed them on their channels, reaching 15,107,253 people.
Finally, influencer marketing is just so much more engaging and authentic than other digital advertising.
Trust and authenticity are why social media influencers can pull better results than a celebrity endorsement. And those levels of trust are likely miles above the 48% of consumers or less who reportedly trust online and mobile ads.
Compare the authentic social media content of a micro-influencer with the stiff copy often found in PPC ads. Which one is your audience more likely to notice and remember?
"Influencers got where they are because they know how to create content that builds and engages an audience. Leveraging that for your own brand puts you on the right side of the changing media landscape," Levin explains.
For example, people trust young YouTubers, the next generation of social media influencers. Even Google, the king of search, online advertising, and organic discovery, is working with the agency to identify brand partners to reach their audience through, instead of just channels like search.
The small games of influencer marketing are over as the tactic has matured in popularity. As we said before, the point of being able to ignore it without consequence are over. Brands are getting more and more serious investing in this next stage of influencer marketing, and its long-term impact will only make it harder for you to catch up.