The Influencer Marketing Evolution

Neilson Catalina Solutions study suggests that Influencer marketing has return on investment sixteen times higher than the average digital marketing campaign and 11x better return than a traditional banner ad campaign.

But what is influencer marketing?

In 2007, Facebook and Twitter become the most used social media platforms and those who produced content that was funny, attractive and entertaining were able to inspire a large following which was solely content-led. The brand-engagement with these influencers was minimal – any product placement on them was largely organic or unpaid.

As Instagram joined the game in 2010, its unique use of imagery and photography revolutionised digital engagement and personal bloggers began to realise that they were able to influence those who followed them.

It wasn’t until 2013, when Facebook started to introduce paid adverts, when social media platforms become the most effective mediums for paid advertising online.

But once again, Instagram’s informal, user-friendly and visually exciting format inspired a dramatic increase in use by personal bloggers, the every-day person and of course, celebrities. Once celebrities joined Instagram by posting personal photos of ‘behind the scenes’ of their glamorous lives, they gleaned an enormous following. This gave marketers and brands even more reason to partner with online influencers.

Beauty, fashion, fitness and food filled the news-feeds of instagramers everywhere inspiring increased trends in the market place.

Now, it has become the norm for brands to partner with social media influencers, but sometimes its so easily done that it compromises on authenticity: Influencers would work with a brand whether they cared about the product or brand or not.

Nielson Catalina Solutions found 83% of consumers placed the most trust in people they know personally, and 66% place trust in the views of online consumers. With this in mind, that as the influencer evolution moves forward, we will see a movement towards advocate – marketing rather than influencer-marketing whereby the advocate in question authentically cares about the product or service they are promoting making the promotion that much more effective.