In a recent survey, one in four respondents ranked influencer marketing as their fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. This speaks to the exponential growth that influencer marketing has had over the past few years, as well as the value new influencer strategies deliver.

However, the industry has had to evolve as consumers become used to recognising branded influencer posts. While the changes to date have been important to create greater transparency (#ad #sponsored), the way we use influencers in to create value in our marketing strategies has significantly evolved in 2020 already. We’ve seen this happen in four ways

1. Complex strategies to tackle complex objectives

Gone are the days where you should throw money at influencers purely based on their audience size. In fact, audience size isn’t a metric that has much value at all when you consider the influencer that failed to sell even 36 t-shirts to her 2 million followers.

To drive value and efficiency your influencer strategy should be created bespoke, depending on the business problem you’re trying to solve. Strategies should include launch moments, flighting, targeting, retargeting, engagement rates, reach efficiency and ongoing conversation development.

They should also provide a road map for how different influencers will drive the various stages of the campaign life cycle. For example, large scale, high audience size influencers are great at launching and starting traction.

This is where micro and nano influencers can be added to the mix; creating a ground swell of conversations that make your audience feel like a natural conversation is happening around them.

2. Brands taking control of transparency

Inconsistent data points and a lack of transparency has constrained marketer’s ability to analyse campaigns properly. Access to key data is something that new technology is changing this quickly, and brands are now able to have direct access to influencers’ data sets from each social platform.

We launched our own global proprietary platform in Australia called MSL Fluency.  The platform enables us to work directly with over 250 million influencers worldwide and creates a powerful level of access to data and insight.  The ability to engage influencers, manage contracts, approve content and gather data in one single location has been a major game changer for our clients and us.

3. Data as value

Having direct access to influencer data is going to drive the largest shift we have seen in the industry to date.  Any brand that operates social media or digital campaigns will already be using data to fuel their targeting and re-targeting strategies and this is going to become the norm for brands that use influencers as well. The perceived value of influencer campaigns will consequentially go up throughout marketing teams once they start understanding how to use influencer data to make decisions and guide future campaigns. We also expect this will drive a major shift in the way influencers and brands interact, changing short-term relationships into longer term partnerships that extend over a number of years.

4. Re-rise of the creator

Pay to play promotion which simply attaches an influencer’s name or face to a product has created an over-saturation of newsfeeds that look identical.

This is starting to drive influencer fatigue and we are already seeing a trend towards content that has more substance and authenticity in our own client briefs. Ongoing changes to the way we engage with content, the rise of social channels like TikTok, the downgrading of vanity metrics will speed up this trend, and we expect to see a major increase in unique and diverse content across the influencer landscape. We believe this trend will unearth a wealth of new influencers who hark back to the very start of influencer marketing when the emphasis was on creating branded entertainment that was just that…entertaining.