Influencer Marketing has been generating buzz for quite some time now. What distinguishes it from other online marketing tactics is the way it was originated, established, and championed by content creators who are committed to delivering their audience with honest, unvarnished, and unswayed reviews of products and services.
On a closer examination of influencer marketing, we discover that it is a brilliant amalgamation of celebrity endorsement, contemporary content marketing, and meticulous user behavior analysis. Furthermore, influencer marketing comprehensively encompasses all the winning touch points of these three strategies, culminating in a foolproof undertaking for brands.
As per Grynow, it is observed that 89% of the marketers of the SMEs and MNCs leveraged influencer marketing in their overall marketing strategy in 2022. However, prior to delving into the intricacies of influencer marketing and its associated components, it's important to comprehend the fundamental principle that gave rise to it - the authenticity of an influencer and the trust people place in their viewpoints.
In our article, who is an influencer, we have examined the fundamental characteristics that distinguish an individual as an influencer, which can be broadly classified into two categories:
Moreover, influencers produce diverse forms of content, including blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. This is contingent on the platform for which they are generating content and the specific niche they are aiming to engage.
With that let’s explore what is an influencer marketing strategy, what factors affect it and how brands can win with it!
What is Influencer Marketing?
In simple terms, influencer marketing involves a collaboration between a brand and an influencer. Initially, it was a straightforward transaction where the influencer would try out and assess the brand's product or service, and then communicate their review to their followers. This approach allowed the brand to gain visibility and access to the influencer's audience, while the influencer's followers learned about a new product or service.
However, as the decade progressed, although the fundamental values remained the same, the spectrum of influencer marketing strategy has become increasingly intricate.
Today influencers are edging into celebrity status while retaining a sense of relatability with their audience, undoubtedly a key contributing factor to the efficacy of influencer marketing strategy.
Let’s understand what makes influencer marketing a successful venture and what factors prevent it.
What makes Influencer Marketing Successful?
To ensure your influencer marketing campaign is successful, it is crucial to prioritize organization and spend adequate time researching, planning, and budgeting. Additionally, analyzing your target audience's preferences, triggers, and resonating factors can help you establish a personalized approach that creates an instant connection.
Moreover, influencer marketing has evolved beyond just acquiring new customers to also maintaining customer loyalty. To achieve this successfully, it's imperative to recognize that consumers today prefer to connect with people rather than just brands. Therefore, a well-designed strategy that prioritizes building a human connection can help you maintain long-term customer loyalty.
What Does not Work in Influencer Marketing?
One common reason why an influencer marketing strategy may fail is when brands and marketers fail to distinguish between viral celebrities and niche influencers. Niche influencers or content creators spend a significant amount of time building their audience and establishing their authority within their specific niche. Thus, they cannot expect quick results from this strategy.
Furthermore, Influencer marketing is a long-term strategy that requires a slow and steady approach, similar to social media and content marketing. The objective is not to achieve quick results by directly selling products or services. Rather, the focus is on establishing yourself as a credible authority and thought leader within your industry. This requires demonstrating your expertise and leadership through your influencer marketing campaigns.
One mistake that brands often make when developing their influencer marketing strategy is taking a generic approach and failing to customize it based on the influencer, their content, and their audience. Additionally, some brands mistakenly determine an influencer's value based on the size of their following rather than their level of engagement. It's important to remember that influence is more akin to authority than popularity.
Ultimately, the goal of influencer marketing is to elicit a specific action from your customers, and the influencers with the most followers are not necessarily the most influential in a given niche.
The Current State Of Influencer Marketing
As 2023 progresses, it is noteworthy that the global influencer marketing value has more than doubled since 2019, currently valued at 16.4 billion US dollars, according to Statista. Experts confidently expect this rate of growth to continue to expand exponentially as influencer endorsement continues to churn out unbeatable profit & benefits for brands via their collaboration with creators.
On the other hand, the influencer marketing platform market, which is rightfully utilized by brands to search, discover, and collaborate with influencers, is also expected to grow to 223.7 million US dollars. This figure directly contributes to the fact that in 2022, 54% brands worked with over 10 influencers across the globe, while 3% stated they have worked with over 1000 influencers in the previous year! (source: Statista)
Upon analyzing 1800 such influencer campaigns, Statista found that Instagram was the number 1 choice for brands to run their campaigns with 94% campaigns being executed there. Coming in at the second position is Facebook being used by 43% campaigns.
When we took a further deep dive into these campaigns, we found that 59% campaigns were designed to generate more interest among the target segment and drive their purchase intent as they believe this would make the venture of marketing through influencers far more valuable. While 51% brands mentioned that influencers could be more valuable to their business by creating more suitable content.
Turning up the magnification further, to analyze the niches of the campaigns, we found that 53% brands find that influencer marketing is most effective in promoting beauty & personal care products, with clothes & accessories being ranked second by 45% brands.
When analyzing these statistics comprehensively, we find that while influencer marketing maintains its traditional façade, it is definitely evolving into something much more interesting.
(Source: Grynow Media and Statista)
The State of Influencer Marketing in India
As seen across the globe, India as well is swiftly keeping pace with the changing behavior, taste, and temperament of consumers in the market as we moved from crowded bazaars to thriving online marketplaces in a matter of a few years!
Indian brands, much like global brands, are also ensuring they reach their target audience where they are present, active and engaging. Thus, the fact that the influencer marketing industry in India is valued somewhere at 12 billion INR (or 147 million USD) isn’t baffling at all. This figure is growing at a pace with a 25% annual compound rate. (source: statista)
Almost 55% of urban consumers in India have been direct consumers of different influencers as of 2022. Wondering which industry caters the bulk of this figure? As of 2022, personal care held the largest share in the total influencer campaigns at 25%, closely followed by fashion, jewelry, food & beverage, electronics, etc. A trend that holds globally as well.
These influencer campaigns have been proving very fruitful as 59% consumers have reported to be more interested in a product after an influencer recommended it, while 52% reported they made their purchase decision based on it!
In 2023, the influencer marketing trends in India are not stopping just at influencing, they are also helping them gain & gather information about brands and products to make future decisions. Even 73% consumers follow influencers to obtain information. Thus, it is safe to say India is at par with the upcoming global influencer marketing trends.
Top Trends For Influencer Marketing In 2023
Just like any other industry, the influencer marketing industry is constantly witnessing an abundance of trends that come and go. These trends are often driven by what viewers find captivating and consume in large quantities. As we look ahead to 2023, three trends are anticipated to shape the influencer marketing industry:
1. Social Commerce & Influencer Collaboration will boom
Social commerce is on the rise. According to research, the industry is expected to hit $1.3 trillion in 2023, a 30.8% increase from previous year. However, brands are quick to recognise that this industry is yet to hit the ceiling of growth and experimentation and thus, they are wasting no time making the best of it with the help of influencers! We think it's safe to presume that influencers will successfully take over the entire funnel or at least begin the conquest.
Even social media platforms are ready for this upcoming trend, almost as if they have been waiting for the industry to eventually stumble upon this brilliant ideation. For instance, Instagram introduced the ‘collab feature’ to allow creators and brands to evidently create content together, something both the parties can benefit from!
Another brilliant example is the ‘Add yours’ feature for stories which allows others to add their pictures to a story, resulting in boosting engagement effortlessly.
2. The Inevitable Rise Of LinkedIn Influencers
Unlike Tik Tok or Instagram, LinkedIn has been around for about 20 years and yet remained untapped as a potentially one of the most beneficial channels for B2B marketing, where even the employees can be an influential figure!
If we peak towards the flip side of this spectrum, we will find that even creators prefer LinkedIn over other platforms or any relevant marketing. The reason for this being unlike other social media platforms, creators do not have to go through countless algorithm updates, constantly changing creator guidelines, shadow banning, etc.
To support this shift, LinkedIn has even introduced the ‘Creator Mode’ for such professionals who wish to make their place in the influencer landscape, and allow them to establish their authority in their industry.
In 2023, brands are recognising this as a brilliant opportunity to collaborate with LinkedIn influencers and extend their reach not just horizontally but vertically as well, incentivizing content creation on the platform in the process.
3. Influencer Marketing & Affiliate Marketing
So far, brands and consumers alike, have been considering influencer marketing and affiliate marketing as two different channels of online marketing. However, in essence both channels are quite similar in operations and achievements, albeit one being more popular than the other.
Both channels consist of a third party helping a brand reach their consumers through a personalized approach. Thus, the line between both is progressively blurring. Furthermore, as 2023 progresses, influencer marketing and affiliate marketing is becoming as we see influencers taking marketing one step ahead from awareness to sales for brands.
Thus, along with social commerce and affiliate marketing, influencer marketing is forming an intricate network which will come full circle. Once again, being evidence that influencers will positively take over the entire marketing funnel in 2023.
Knowing these trends is not enough, the key is to successfully leveraging them in your influencer marketing strategy.
How To Create A Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy In 2023
Brands are strategically leveraging influencer marketing strategy in 2023, utilizing it as an independent strategy as well as an integrated part of a holistic strategy. Furthermore, the increasing demand for well-crafted and captivating content is a clear reflection of the evolving landscape of influencer marketing.
The steps to create a successful influencer marketing strategy remain the same as follows:
Identify your target audience
Determine who your target audience is and what they are interested in. This will help you identify the right influencers who can reach and engage with your audience.
Define your goals
Establish clear and measurable goals for your influencer marketing campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or build brand loyalty?
Choose the right influencers
Look for influencers who have a genuine connection to your brand and who align with your brand values. Consider their audience size, engagement rate, and relevance to your target audience.
Develop a content plan
Collaborate with your chosen influencers to create compelling and authentic content that resonates with their audience and aligns with your brand values. The content should be tailored to the platform and the influencer's unique style.
Set a budget
Determine how much you are willing to invest in your influencer marketing campaign. Consider the fees for the influencers, the cost of creating content, and any other expenses.
Monitor your campaign's performance and track metrics such as engagement rate, reach, and sales. Use this data to evaluate the success of your campaign and make informed decisions for future campaigns.
By following these steps, you can create an effective influencer strategy that drives results for your brand.
Influencer Marketing Tips
However, in order to keep up with the influencer marketing trends of 2023 and stay relevant, here follow these invaluable tips:
Include Nano And Micro Influencers
Although engagement rates decreased overall in 2022, nano and micro-influencers were an exception and continued to offer higher conversion rates for businesses. Influencers with smaller followings are more capable of establishing a genuine connection with their audience and promoting products with authenticity. Furthermore, the content created by these influencers tends to be more audience-focused, aligning with their personal style and brand while also effectively promoting our product.
Tailor Your Approach as Per the Influencer
It's important to remember that there is no universal approach to working with influencers. Factors such as the type of influencer, content, and campaign duration can all impact the campaign's objectives. Therefore, it's crucial to have the right metrics in place to evaluate the campaign's success and to assess the long-term retention of conversions.
Utilize Influencer Marketing For UA Campaigns
Partnering with a top-performing influencer to incorporate their creative content into your User Acquisitions campaigns can be a valuable tactic for strengthening the influencer's association with your game and enhancing the credibility of your ads among your target audience. While not always feasible, the advantages of expanding the reach of the influencer's content can typically be recognized and leveraged by both parties.
As the creator economy and the estimated value of the influencer marketing industry continues to grow, it is evident that influencers are no longer the contributors to a campaign, rather the MVPs. Thus, they need to be approached accordingly for collaboration through a process widely known as influencer outreach.
What Does the Future of Influencer Marketing look like?
Analyzing the past trends & innovations in the influencer marketing industry, it is safe to assume that its future, although unpredictable, will be value driven, continuously evolving, and immensely profitable for both creators and brands.
Here a few factors that future of influencer marketing will depend upon:
1. Value Alignment With Brand And Creators
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of a brand’s value and ensuring they align with their own as 82% consumers look for this quality, according to researchers. Furthermore, 75% consumers even parted ways with brands upon discovering conflict between their values, indicating they are making a conscious choice.
2. Creators Are Becoming Brands Themselves
After years of bringing honest reviews to their audience, creators have a profound understanding of what they really want. Thus, with support from their followers, influencers are creating their own brands.
Some key examples being Prime by Logan Paul and KSI, Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner, and Sweat by Kayla Itsines. In today's marketing landscape, influencers have become more than just a spokesperson or a marketing tool, they can also serve as the core of a brand.
3. Making Things More Efficient
As the recession tightens its clasp over global companies, brands are taking a more efficient approach to influencer marketing and viewing the budget with a magnifying glass.
Thus, in the upcoming years, we will witness leaders seeking a strategic focus and decision-making based on genuine insights. It will become increasingly essential to measure and obtain insights both at the initial stages of selecting influencers and comprehending value alignment, as well as at the final stages of demonstrating success and understanding precisely what worked and what didn't.
Furthermore, it is evident that influencer marketing campaigns will continue to lead the growth of social media platforms in the future as well.
How Has Influencer Marketing Industry Led To Growth Of Social Media Platforms
Although social media platforms have always shown a steady growth in terms of popularity and user base. However, influencer marketing enabled them to grow up to 10x faster.
As of 2023, Instagram is the most preferred social media platform, with 76% of marketers using it, according to eMarketer’s report. This is closely followed by Facebook with 58%, Tik Tok with 50%, and YouTube with 44.2%.
Furthermore, to support influencer marketing, social media platforms have introduced several features and tools. For instance, Instagram has launched the "paid partnership" tag that allows influencers to disclose their partnerships with brands. This feature has helped to improve transparency in influencer marketing and foster more authentic connections between influencers and their followers.
Instagram has also launched the "Instagram Creator Fund," a program designed to support content creators by providing financial support and resources to help them build their careers on the platform. The program includes a range of features such as monetization tools, creator funding, and content production support.
Similarly, YouTube has introduced the "YouTube Creator Academy," a resource hub that provides tips, tutorials, and best practices for content creators. Additionally, YouTube has introduced "Super Chat," a monetization feature that allows viewers to pay to have their comments highlighted during a live stream.
Overall, social media platforms are continuously innovating to better support influencer marketing, and this trend is likely to continue. As Instagram and YouTube remain two of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing campaigns, it is essential for brands and influencers alike to stay up-to-date with these features and tools to maximize their impact and reach.
Let’s explore how big brands identify and leverage these social media platforms and their tools to find success through influencer marketing.
Coca Cola x Influencer Marketing – A Case Study of Success
Coca Cola is currently a century old. However, it somehow always manages to engage consumers from young generations. Right now, they are doing so, successfully, via influencer marketing campaigns.
In an overview, we found that Coca Cola uses the ‘Creator Multiple Tier’ method to engage consumers on different levels. This is how they approach this
Coca Cola is continuously creating amazing influencer campaigns designed to create the notion where a chilled Coca Cola is always present in moments of happiness.
Here are a few:
1. Share a Coke
One of their most successful campaigns was the "Share a Coke" campaign, which encouraged consumers to share a Coke with someone whose name was printed on the bottle. As part of the campaign, Coca Cola partnered with influencers on Instagram and Twitter to showcase personalized Coke bottles featuring their names. The "Share a Coke" campaign generated over 998 million impressions on Twitter alone, according to livemint, with over 235,000 tweets using the hashtag #ShareaCoke.
2. Taste the Feeling
Another successful campaign was the "Taste the Feeling" campaign, which aimed to promote Coca Cola's emotional appeal. The brand partnered with influencers such as Selena Gomez and Avicii to create music videos featuring the song "Taste the Feeling." The campaign generated over 4.4 billion impressions on social media.
3. Zero Sugar
Coca Cola also worked with micro-influencers on social media to create user-generated content. For instance, in their "Zero Sugar" campaign, they collaborated with micro influencers to create recipes using Coca Cola Zero Sugar. This approach allowed Coca Cola to reach a wider audience and generate more authentic content. The campaign generated over 1.4 million impressions and over 20,000 interactions on social media, according to abassoc.
Overall, Coca Cola's influencer marketing strategy has been successful in engaging with younger audiences and generating buzz on social media. By partnering with a diverse range of influencers, Coca Cola has been able to create personalized and relatable content that never fails to resonate with their target audience.