Episode 2 of The Influential Times – A roundup of the top 5 insights, movements and changes in the influencer marketing industry for July 2019.
The influencer marketing space is expected to grow to $10bn by 2022, up from $2bn in 2017. For many brands the practice is already well established as part of the marketing mix. Altimeter were commissioned to conduct some research recommending that businesses spend 25% of their digital marketing budgets on influencer marketing. Brands are already spending 25% of their digital budgets on social media advertising – but is the line between ‘influencer marketing’ and ‘social media advertising’ about the become increasingly blurred?
Instagram have launched a new feature that allows brands to promote a post from an influencer in the same way as they could promote one of their own posts. Instagram’s announcement post says “With branded content ads, businesses have an opportunity to tell their brand stories through creators’ voices.” When a content creator creates a post and they label it as a sponsored post, this will trigger the brand that’s been tagged to pay to promote the post. The brand can choose to then promote the post to people who are not following the influencer.
A number of agencies have reported seeing a drop in organic engagement on posts compared to what they were previously getting. Comms consultant Ste Davies speculated: “It seems that the Instagram algorithm is going the same way the Facebook page algorithm did in 2014. The golden age for engagement is over and they’ll be ramping up the monetisation from now on.” The drop has mainly been reported for accounts that changed from individual to business, even if they changed back to personal.
Away from Instagram – LinkedIn have recently made some major changes to their algorithm, designed to make posts from a wider range of people visible in a user’s feed. Previously the algorithm was heavily skewed towards posts from top tier users with posts from those with smaller follower numbers mostly being ignored or unseen. The recent changes will hopefully make employee advocacy programs a lot more effective, especially if these advocates are also ‘contributors’ to LinkedIn – i.e. they create content share to their network.
This month’s influencer marketing ‘scandal’ comes courtesy of Marissa Fuchs (@fashionambitionist) and Gabriel Grossman who staged a ‘surprise’ marriage proposal as part of a brand sponsorship piece drawing widespread criticism for its fake ‘authenticity’. I highly recommend Scott Guthrie’s blog on the matter which goes to heart of some of the problems when ‘authenticity’ becomes ‘performance art’.