(Editor’s Note: Though Linqia conducted its research before the coronavirus pandemic, marketers can still glean valuable insights from the report.)
Influencer marketing is gaining more traction as nearly 60 percent of marketers plan to increase their budgets in 2020. The same percentage think influencer content performs as well as or better than their branded content. This is according to Linqia’s “The State of Influencer Marketing 2020” report which explores how this year will bring influencer campaigns more accuracy in measurement and sophistication in strategy.
Linqia’s findings indicate an increased frequency of influencer marketing campaigns with a higher percentage of campaigns always on. In 2019 about 20 percent of marketers ran six or more influencer marketing campaigns and nearly 20 percent of these campaigns were always on. Marketers who ran 11-15 campaigns accounted for nine percent in 2019, compared to three percent in 2018.
Marketers are also allocating more of their budgets to influencer marketing with 11-25 percent planning to spend over 40 percent of their digital marketing budgets on influencer marketing. Twenty percent of marketers say they’ll spend between a quarter to half of their budgets on influencer marketing campaigns.
The trend of leveraging micro-influencers (5,000-100,000 followers), those who have smaller but more engaged audiences, will continue in 2020. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they want to work with micro-influencers, 64 percent are interested in working with macro-influencers (100,000-500,000 followers) and 31percent want to work with mega-influencers (500,000-5 million followers). The percentage of marketers who want to work with nano-influencers (up to 5,000 followers)—25 percent— was higher than that of marketers who want to work with celebrities (over 5 million followers)—22 percent.
In terms of platforms, 97 percent of marketers and agency professionals plan to use Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns. Followed by Instagram stories (83 percent), Facebook (79 percent), YouTube (44 percent) and Twitter (35 percent). While TikTok has seen a spike in usage over the last year, marketers still favor Pinterest (29 percent) and blogs (24 percent) over TikTok. The same amount of marketers, 16 percent, said they plan to use TikTok and Snapchat, respectively.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents say vertical video will be important or very important in their influencer marketing efforts this year. Still, just 30 percent of marketers plan on incorporating Instagram stories into their Instagram campaigns, indicating either a lack of understanding of stories or that creating content for stories is more time consuming.
Part of influencer marketing’s appeal is that marketers can repurpose influencer content across other channels. This year 90 percent of marketers plan on re-using influencer content across social, website, emails, display ads and other areas. Among those, 90 percent said paid social would be the primary channel followed by 72 percent for the brand’s own organic social channel. Additionally, 41 percent plan to use influencer content on their website and 30 percent plan to use it in emails.
Though only 20 percent said they’d use influencer content in programmatic, a former Linqia study shows this venue is growing as it found influencer content outperforms branded content by an average of 2.7 times on paid channels.
On how they measure success of influencer marketing campaigns, respondents were mixed in their assessments: 71 percent chose engagement (compared to 89 percent last year), followed by brand awareness (62 percent), impressions (60 percent), conversions (55 percent) and clicks (54 percent).
When asked what their top concern is about using influencer marketing, most chose “determining return on investment (ROI) on my influencer marketing program” followed by changes to network algorithms that make organic influencer content less visible.
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