Influencer marketing is expected to be worth $13.8 billion this year, up from $9.7 billion in 2020, according to Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2021 Benchmark Report. The figure represents a significant increase from 2016, when the industry was valued at $1.7 billion.
The firm surveyed 5,000 brands and influencer marketing agencies across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa, where employees ranged from fewer than ten to more than 1,000.
Influencer Marketing Hub observed a major slow down in influencer spend from March to July 2020, but saw a spike in influencer campaigns from August onwards.
This year, 11 percent intend on spending more than 40 percent of their marketing budget on influencer campaigns; 10 percent will devote 30-40 percent of their marketing budget to influencers.
For 83 percent of brands, influencer marketing spend is taken from their marketing budget. Here’s what they spend on influencer marketing annually:
- 49 percent spend less than $10,000 (up from 43 percent in 2020)
- 23 percent spend between $10,000-50,000
- 12 percent spend $50,000-$100,000
- 7.5 percent spend $100,000-$500,000
- 8.6 percent spend more than $500,000 (up from five percent in 2020)
Sixty-six percent plan to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2021.
Brands still prefer micro-influencers for their strong engagement rate (ER). On Instagram, micro-influencers have an average ER of 3.86 percent compared to mega-influencers at 1.21 percent.
The case is similar for YouTube (1.64 percent average ER vs. 0.37 percent). The difference is most stark on TikTok, where micro-influencers’ ER is nearly 18 percent compared to nearly five percent for mega-influencers.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents use Instagram for influencer marketing, 12 percent less than last year. TikTok seems to have swallowed up that loss as 45 percent said they use TikTok for influencer marketing campaigns.
The number of influencers on both TikTok and Twitch surged in 2020. TikTok influencers grew from 35,528 to a whopping 106,104; Twitch influencers more than doubled, from 15,754 to 36,663.
Standardized measurement of return on investment (ROI) for influencer marketing has yet to be established, but about 40 percent said they gauge a campaign by conversions and sales. The remainder measure engagement or clicks (33 percent) and views, reach, and impressions (29 percent).
Influencer fraud is still a concern for marketers, but the issue seems to be improving. In 2019, 68 percent suffered from it, while just 38 percent experienced it last year.
Respondents have mixed views on influencers’ impact on brand safety. Forty-three percent believe brand safety could occasionally be a concern, 33 percent believe brand safety is always a concern and 24 percent think it’s not really a concern.