Move Over, Celebs—Make Way For the New Influencers

Consumers, get ready to see even more influencer marketing on your social media channels. According to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 75% of advertisers surveyed currently use influencer marketing. 43% of national advertisers who already engage in influencer marketing are planning to increase their spend over the next 12 months. Even more interesting, of those who are not already using influencer marketing, 27% plan to start in the next year. While influencer marketing is here to stay, there will be a few tweaks. We examine ways influencer marketing is changing in 2018.

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Celebrities will always influence trends on some level, but many brands are veering away from celebrities and moving toward micro-influencers who have 25,000 to 100,000 followers. While giant followings may sound enticing, they don’t always get the best results, and advertisers are realizing engagement matters more. A recent study found that consumers find micro-influencers to be more engaging and trustworthy than celebrities or personalities with more than 250,000 followers.


Digital trailblazers are also increasingly popular with both brands and consumers alike. These content creators who have 1 million to 19.9 million social media followers outperform both celebrities and micro-influencers. According to a new report by Fullscreen and Sharablee, the engagement levels were 0.66% for digital trailblazers, compared to 0.40% for celebrities and 0.35% for micro-influencers.


Fullscreen and Sharablee found that 38% of 1,200 millennials and Gen Zers ages 18-to-34 trust what influencers say about a brand more than what the brand says about itself. Trailblazers have the overall highest level of trust (45%) among their followers, exceeding micro-influencers (42%) and celebrities (29%). Of those consumers who engage with micro-influencers, 45% were likely to try their recommendation, while 30% of those who engage with digital trailblazers were likely to purchase. Consumers who engage with celebrities were the least likely to try or purchase something recommended by the influencer.


A recent survey of 181 marketers reported that 86% of brands used influencer marketing in 2017; of those, 92% felt it was an effective strategy. So effective, in fact, that 39% of brands are increasing their influencer budgets in 2018, with the majority spending between $25,000 and $50,000. 35% of brands give influencers free products rather than payment.


According to ANA’s findings, the most popular social media channels for influencer marketing are Facebook (86%) and Instagram (84%), with Instagram ranked as the most important platform overall by 36% compared to Facebook’s 20%.

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