Influencer Marketing in 2018 is going to be next big deal. Let’s have a look at what our industry experts have to say when it comes to leveraging Influencer Marketing in the year 2018. The trends that they anticipate for business to beware of-
Influencer Marketing Trends 2018
Kanika Mittal, Director – Brand Marketing & Communications
Engagement Before Reach
The way we choose our influencers is [based on] what is the kind of reach and engagement they’re bringing to the table. So while reach is simply a factor of the kind of followers they have across platforms, engagement is where the true differentiation comes in. Engagement is actually a factor or a derivative of the [content that they make]. So how beautifully they’re able to click pictures, how interestingly are they able to put out little quirks and tips out there that people love, are they seen at the right places and events?
For example, if it’s a fashionably fit influencer, is she being seen at events like an Amazon Fashion Week or if it’s somebody more in the fitness space, is she seen at events like Pinkathon, is he part of any running club, things like that. The content is a derivative of what the person does and how he represents that content in an exciting way leads to engagement which will in the future will take precedence over the sheer number of followers being the most important thing. Also having an always on influencer strategy will be far more impactful than any tactical initiative or an off and on approach.
Influencers will help to Humanize the Brand
Humanizing the brand- the way an influencer can do it, no one can do it. I think we have to respect the fact that they bring their unique personality to the brand which is not easy to do. Years back an advertising agency had come up with this term called the prosumer; so before the consumer, there is a prosumer. This prosumer was the one who used to be the early adopter of trends and he would influence the consumers to buy. So he was like the guy who led the value chain. In those times, it was very difficult to find prosumers, you had to figure out some research or you had to deep dive and find your prosumer. Now the prosumer is out there, he’s a lot more easily identifiable.
So if you are saved the effort of finding the prosumer, and you know that these are the so many prosumers that are out there, then put that effort back into developing/cultivating the relationship with the prosumer. Find a symbiosis between the Influencer’s personality and the brand’s and leverage that to reflect your brand’s true spirit through a humane form.
Median Age of Influencers will get Lower
I definitely think the median age of influencers will get lower. By the time they reach a certain number in terms of followership, that will take some amount of time but they will enter the field a lot early. If you look at bloggers and Instagrammers of today, who are these people? They were typically pursuing a corporate job and after a while the passion became bigger than the corporate job. So they took the risk, bit the passion and went with the flow. Today they’re getting the return of investment on the risk that they took.
Today being an Influencer is a well-established profession and passion. So the youth will feel more confident in following their dream straight out of college and the influx of more youth into this will potentially change the paradigm of how Influencer marketing happens in the first place.
Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com
The Rise of Tier 2 Influencers
Tier 2 influencers or “the power middle” has proved to be quite effective for any campaign. This set of influencers is often easier to engage with and is more cost-effective. By 2018, we will see these influencers play a significant role in marketing campaigns. Combining tier 1 and tier 2 influencers makes campaigns more scalable. Such campaigns also have the potential to reach more people without adding resources.
Credibility & Engaging Content will be Pivotal to Improve Brand Perception
2018 will see Influencer Marketing blend Marketing & Communication activities. Authenticity, credibility and engaging content will be pivotal to successful engagement. Such campaigns can help improve brand perception and establish trust among consumers.
Instagram Will Remain a Core Influencer Marketing Channel
Another important prediction is that Instagram be the key channel for influencer marketing. Instagram has recently taken many steps to power this growth. A Paid Partnership tag, which influencers can include in the sub-header of sponsored content being one.
Jaydip Sikdar, Marketing Lead, Adobe
It is proven, influencer marketing works for all types of brands. Between 2013 to 2016, the search keywords “influencer marketing” grew at a crazy pace. Just first 9 months in 2017 saw the keywords growing double. All most all brands are going to increase their investments in influencer marketing. Below are the top 3 growing trends in 2018:
- Once the target audience is decided, brands will spend more time carefully evaluating influencer profiles and their influence on the target audience. Brands will also invest money and resources in building relationships with key influencers.
- While influencers’ videos will continue to play a vital channel for online outreach, Instagram will grow as even bigger influencer marketing channel in 2018.
- Brands will focus on measurement of their influencer campaigns as they continue to increase their investments in this area. Setting mutually aligned KPIs and targeted metrics should help yield better returns on their investments.
Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran, Founder & Editor, Healthcare India
My predictions for 2018, dominance of Google, entry of the smart speakers and the rise of micro-influencers
Another year goes by and 2017 did provide its share of mega moments in the field of digital marketing. Whether it was the release of Bahubali 2 : The Conclusion which involved promos using AR/VR technology or the use of Instagram to promote women in sports by Nike through the Da Da Ding Campaign.
This year we won 40 awards at Cannes including 10 Gold Lions, 16 Silver Lions, 13 Bronze Lions and one Grand Prix.
While this signifies the coming of age of Digital Marketing in India, what 2018 has to offer is very exciting. Before we just into the predictions, let me set the stage as to what is driving this growth for digital marketing in India.
The launch of Reliance Jio was a watershed moment for Digital Marketing. In 2017 our internet penetration rose to 27% with roughly 355 million internet users. Most of the internet penetration is being driven on the back of smart phone sales, which rose to 109 million units in 2016. In rural India the penetration rose to 15% while urban India the penetration is around 75% +. India has the largest number of Android Phone users, and the smart phone plus data costs are one of the lowest in the world. So in a sense that sets the tone for increased access to millions of Indians who were earlier inaccessible. (Source: Meeker Report)
Having set the tone here are my 3 key predictions for 2018-
Digital Marketing Spend would continue to rise in India dominated by Facebook and Google
It is estimated to grow by 30% as per reports by Group M and WPP. Though TV leads ad spends and Print is still second, the growth of Digital is impressive, it grew 47% last year and 30% this year. Increased interest penetration would see increased digital spend specially in local and vernacular languages. Bulk of this growth would be driven by Facebook and Google. In the US they control almost 63% of the digital ad spend in 2017 and this is something that will spread to India soon.
Rise of the Smart Speaker
The smart speaker would finally go mainstream in India. Amazon Echo was the number 1 holiday gift in the US this Thanksgiving. The product was so popular that it was sold out in minutes from all major websites including Amazon. Google Home came in next. In 2017 December Apple is largely expected to announce the Apple Homepod. Almost 17% of the US households have a smart speaker and most of them are very happy with it. With the smart speakers, these tech companies would increase their stranglehold on the access to content. The Smart Speakers would create new opportunities like “Voice Optimization”. Today most digital marketers specialize in on-page optimization which may soon be redundant. Smart Speaker Market size is slated to surpass USD 13 billion, with shipments of over 100 million units by 2024; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.
Influencer marketing goes mainstream, leading to rise of micro-influencers
I have been a big proponent of influencer marketing. Some time ago I did a webinar with Digital Vidya on why Influencer Marketing would become a mainstay for an enterprise marketing strategy. Three years later my prediction has come true and today it a major part of the marketing/business strategy. As no customer segment is homogeneous, the same can be said about the influencers. 2018 would be the year of rise of the micro-influencers. For those unfamiliar with the term, a micro-influencer is someone who drives opinions in a small segment of the customer base. These influencers are mostly endemic to either a geographic region, a certain language or within certain socio-economic parameters. A good example of a micro influencer is probably your family physician. My family physician Dr. Oliver is a key influencer who drives health-related behavior within our family and the local community that he serves. Another good example of a micro influencer is Smriti Sain who is an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Chiaroscuro, a leather bag manufacturer based in Delhi. She is key to my wife’s buying pattern among leather bags and accessories.
Organizations would have to learn to identify, cultivate and engage these micro influencers in 2018 and this would demarcate the lines between success and failure for most marketing teams in 2018.
So these are my predictions for 2018. But I would love to hear your views as well. Would love to connect and discuss more, please do reach out to me on Twitter @Drvikram
Punit Modhgil, Co-founder, Director, Octane Marketing
Influencer Marketing is here to stay and scale. If 2017 was the year when influencer marketing caught up, 2018 will see it bloom and diversify to newer marketing spaces.
With marketers betting big on Influencer Marketing through higher marketing budgets and increased marketing efforts, staying contemporary with market trends is paramount.
Take a look at the top 3 Influencer Marketing trends to look out for the coming year.
Explosion of Integrated Influencer Marketing
Influencers can be classified into 3 main categories: Mega Influencers, Macro Influencers, and Micro Influencers. If 2017 was the year of Micro influencers then 2018 will be a year of consolidation.
2018 will witness a surge in Integrated Marketing strategies aligning the three influencer types along with credibility related strategies such as loyalty, brand advocacy and word of mouth marketing creating a unified customer experience strategy.
Leveraging B2B Influencer Marketing
Taking inspiration from the B2C brigade 2018 will see higher number of partnerships creating for brand conversations on social media platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.
With most B2B influencers having generated organic credibility and industry reverence, the brand focus should be a long-term association rather than a short-term “sell”. A sustained syndicate resulting in genuine brand recommendation rather than temporary explicit promotion campaigns are perceived as more authentic.
Analytics to Gain Prominence
With influencer marketing poised to attract more investment, completing the full circle through KPI measurements and performance analytics is the sensible way forward.
While strategies like reach mapping and UTM and CPE tracking and hashtag trailing were mainstream in 2017, 2018 will witness deployment of advanced measuring strategies like mapping target audience growth and behaviour analytics using specialized audience demographic tools and other third-party applications.
I would be happy to share more knowledge on the last mile connectivity with your target group. Feel free to touch-base: @modhgil (Twitter)
How are you planning to leverage Influencer Marketing in 2018? Do keep the experts say in mind when you plan to leverage Influencer Marketing!