There’s a lot of noise out there when it comes to influencer marketing. A quick Google search for “influencer marketing statistics” brings up over 11M results, many of which share the same set of numbers and statistics, with little explanation or context as to what it all means. Everyone seems to agree that influencer marketing has changed the advertising industry, but how can we be certain that it’s here to stay? Will influencer marketing continue to grow until it is the dominant form of advertising, or will it fizzle out like so many hot marketing fads before it?
Fortunately, Obviously is the expert in all things influencer marketing. We can break down the story behind the numbers and explain exactly what it is that makes influencer marketing so effective. By the time we’re done, you’ll understand why influencer marketing isn’t just powerful, it’s essential for your brand.
It all boils down to three things: organic engagement, large-scale content creation, and trust. When these three elements combine, they ignite an unstoppable reaction that spreads your message throughout social media, reaching exactly the right consumers for your brand.
We’re analyzing 10 of the most popular influencer marketing statistics to get a true understanding of how influencer marketing works and why it will continue to dominate in 2019.
It’s one thing to show someone an ad, but it’s another to capture their attention so they actively engage with content and form an emotional bond with your brand. As consumers grow increasingly weary of traditional advertising methods, they are turning toward more personalized forms of communication. Because influencer marketing straddles the line between branded messaging and natural word-of-mouth, it’s proven to generate more organic engagement than any form of traditional advertising.
Here are some stats that back this up:
According to a survey of over 1000 US internet users, 40% of laptops users, as well as 22% of mobile users, take advantage of ad blockers. What’s more interesting, though, is why they are doing this. According to a massive poll by Havas Media, only 22% of brands are trusted by consumers. Customers are blocking ads not only because they’re annoying, but because they genuinely don’t believe the things brands have to say. Therefore, even in the cases where they are seeing ads created by brands, there is reason to question their effectiveness.
A study by Influence Central found that 86% of women are turning online for shopping advice. So, while they aren’t interested in seeing online ads, they are searching somewhere online for information on purchasing. What’s more, they’re having conversations about products and services. Consumers are interested in engaging in purchasing conversations online, but on their own terms. By becoming a part of these organic conversations, brands can bypass ad blockers and start interacting with customers in a more human way.
In the past, brands have used celebrities as intermediaries between themselves and consumers. While celebrities may cast a wide net, there is a good chance that many of their audience is not interested in your brand. Consequently, most of their followers are passive observers, rather than active participants, in their content. In contrast, micro influencers, those with between 10k-100k followers, have dedicated niche audiences who are specifically interested in the content they post about. A survey by Makerly confirmed that this is the “sweet spot” for influencer engagement, as engagement tends to decrease as the number of followers increase. Although smaller, micro influencers’ audiences are highly engaged, interested in what they have to say, and poised to act on their recommendations.
In addition to having high engagement, micro influencers generate massive amounts of high-quality content. They know the ins-and-outs of working on multiple social channels, and are happy to leverage these skills to maintain positive relationships with the brands they work with. Unlike celebrities, who may post only once and have a limited emotional connection to the brand, micro influencers are driven to create as much content as possible, as this is their primary method of maintaining their audience.
A study by Keller Fay Group, revealed that micro influencers have 22.2x more weekly conversations about what to buy than the average consumer. That is a ton of recommendations and a ton of engagement. What’s more, 82% of respondents said they were likely to follow said recommendations. This means that, unlike traditional advertisements, high exposure to influencer recommendations is not turning off their followers. Instead, followers are attentively waiting for content from these influencers so they can take their recommendations and run with them. Their messages are seen as welcome information, rather than annoying interruptions.
According to a Collective Bias survey, 33% of consumers felt neutral about sponsored content and an additional 34% did not mind, for a total of 67% of consumers who have no negative reaction to sponsored content. This stands in sharp contrast to the 49% of consumers who find brand-created advertisements “annoying or irrelevant.” What’s more, 37% of consumers said that the high quality of influencer content negates the fact that it is sponsored. If an influencer is creating quality content, their audience will not become frustrated merely because the content is sponsored.
Even better, according to a report by Linqia, only 6% of brands said influencer content underperformed brand content. Of that already minuscule percentage, zero believed that influencer content greatly underperformed brand content. So, with 93% of influencer content created being at least as strong as that originating from the brand, and for a fraction of the cost, it’s easy to understand why brands are loosening the reins and letting influencers take control. But even with all the value being added from influencer-created content, there is still more to be harnessed. The same report said that 59% of brands planned to leverage influencer content and other channels but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. That’s a lot of untapped potential.
Influencer content is both highly effective and economical. It costs brands virtually nothing to create and can be shared and re-posted on social media for free, provided creators are cited. What’s more, it’s evergreen. People will keep discovering and engaging with influencer posts for months and years to come. Because of this, IDC CMO Kathleen Schaub predicts that the majority of ad content will be user-generated in the near future. There is a never-ceasing need for brands to create more content, and influencers will continue to be leveraged to fill that gap. The amount of influencer-created content online can only go up.
While there are a variety of factors that make influencer marketing successful, none of them would work without the essential element of trust. The vacuum left by traditional advertising is being filled by influencers, who are seen as a more human, more interesting, and more trustworthy. Unlike celebrities, who are perceived as marketing any product they are paid for, consumers believe that influencers choose to partner with brands they genuinely like. Honesty and authenticity are the driving forces behind influencer marketing.
According to a large-scale survey by Collective Bias, the vast majority of millenials would rather hear about products from bloggers, who they perceive as honest and trustworthy, than celebrities. In fact, only 3% of consumers said that they would buy something in-store because it was endorsed by a celebrity. This demonstrates just how much times have changed in terms of consumer trust. Fame simply isn’t everything anymore.
A study by Think with Google confirms the Collective Bias numbers, with 70% of teens trusting their favorite YouTubers over celebrities. But the findings went a step further. 40% of teenagers believe that their favorite YouTube creator understands them better than their own friends. For teenagers, the relationship with influencers is as sincere as any friendship, meaning there is virtually no difference between an influencer recommendation and a recommendation from a best friend. For the first time ever, brands can truly harness the full power of word-of-mouth.
It’s long been understood that word-of-mouth is the strongest form of advertising. A fascinating study by McKinsey managed to measure and define the effectiveness of different types of word-of-mouth and the value of each one. Intentional word-of-mouth marketing is that which originates from the brand and passes through trusted sources, like influencers. According to the study, recommendations from trusted and knowledgeable influencers have 4x the impact on a consumer’s purchasing decision than a regular recommendation. In other words, influencer recommendations can have an even greater impact than recommendations from friends and family members.
With numbers like these, there can be no doubt that influencer marketing will continue to have an impact in the future. It’s an incredibly powerful, even revolutionary, strategy that has completely disrupted the advertising industry. By now, brands have caught on to the phenomenon and understand that not having an effective influencer marketing strategy will mean getting left behind. There’s no going back now, and nowhere to go but up. 2019 is going to be our strongest year yet.