In the wake of a forthcoming third wave of COVID-19, influencer marketing is quickly becoming an integral part of the marketing mix. To understand how the pandemic has affected marketers’ application of the tactic, Social Publi surveyed 200 consumer-facing professionals in marketing, social media, advertising and public relations across 15 countries.
The results indicate strong favorability toward influencers, with nearly 90 percent of respondents saying they believe influencer marketing is effective. In addition, 42 percent reported that influencer marketing provides the best return on investment (ROI) compared to paid media ads, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing—up nearly seven percent since last year.
Nearly half (49.2 percent) of respondents say they allocate at least 10 percent of their budgets to influencer marketing. Of these respondents, 33 percent allocate between 10-15 percent of their budget to influencer marketing, 11 percent, between 15-50 percent and five percent, over 50 percent. The other half dedicate less than 10 percent to influencer marketing.
Marketers’ experience with influencer marketing varies. For example, 27 percent of respondents have incorporated influencer marketing just within the last year, while nearly 20 percent have been working with influencers for more than three years. On the other hand, a good amount, 30 percent, have never used influencer marketing.
According to 53 percent of marketing professionals, the greatest advantage of influencer marketing is that it produces advertising that’s more personal and natural, followed by the fact that influencers can be great ambassadors (40 percent).
For 38 percent of marketers, influencer marketing is a strategy they utilize only on special occasions such as during the holiday season, whereas 36 percent use it regularly. Those who regularly use influencer marketing agree that it’s beneficial for driving brand awareness (59 percent), creating engagement (50 percent), reaching new target audiences (47 percent) and generating sales (41 percent).
As for who marketers seek to target audiences via influencers, 54 percent indicate they have millennials in mind followed by Gen Z (12 percent).
When scouting influencers, 53 percent agree that the ideal follower range for an influencer is 10,000 to 100,000 while 32 percent say the main factor they consider when selecting influencers is the quality of their content (32 percent).
Half of marketers who work with influencers prefer them to create video content. And nearly all (96 percent) of respondents’ preferred social media network for influencer activations is Instagram followed by Facebook (50 percent) YouTube (37 percent) and TikTok (33 percent). Within Instagram, Stories is the most preferred format for influencer marketing (47 percent).
Given an industry-wide approach to measuring the effectiveness of influencers has yet to be adopted, measuring ROI remains a concern for 49 percent of respondents, second to guaranteeing the authenticity of followers (54 percent).
However, when it comes down to measuring the success of their influencer campaigns, nearly 50 percent of marketers consider reach, 48 percent measure engagement rate and 45 percent measure sales/lead generation.
For some, a reluctance to invest in influencers comes from inexperience as 38 percent say the reason they’ve never executed an influencer campaign is they don’t know where to start. Similarly, 25 percent say they don’t know how to contact influencers. For 21 percent, influencer campaigns are too expensive.
Still, 55 percent of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing investment for the remainder of the year. Twenty-six percent plan on maintaining it.
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