Influencer Marketing - Rise & Fall

We are currently undergoing a revolutionary shift. It started with the industrial revolution and then came the mass media revolution in the 19th century, now we are currently in a digital revolution. Until the superpower called the Internet stepped in and social media disrupted the life of the people as well as businesses alike, advertising ideology stayed the same for the past 7 decades. Now, the companies are spending huge corpus of their marketing budget on online platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other streams of marketing. Influencer marketing is one of the many streams and it is a way in which the brands engage with its target market by using social media personalities to endorse their brand and use their social media popularity in influencing the decision-making process.

For a long time, businesses across the globe used icons and public figures as endorsers for their brand. Often this was a very enormous task in many aspects. From getting in touch with them to convincing them, it was never a cakewalk, particularly for newer or smaller brands. Moreover, they come at a high price. These celebrities have the least engagement with their followers. With the advent of influencer marketing it became a very integral part of the online marketing mix, but why? Because according to 84% of the marketers think that influencer marketing is an effective way of connecting with the people, millennials. The business has transformed especially in the e-commerce space.

The influencer marketing industry is now maturing with various brands, political parties, individuals rely heavily on campaigns that are influencer-driven for their product or positioning of the message they intend to convey. The influencers belong largely to these groups: bloggers, photographers, celebrities, activists, etc and the major platforms are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WordPress, etc. The influencer marketing market is expected to become a $5 – $10 billion market. Instagram accounts for half of the influencers in the world. The reason why Influencer marketing is the most effective customer acquisition method is attributable to the concept that we as a customer believe someone whom we follow or trust. So, when they endorse a product or brand, customers feel like emulating the same behavior because it comes from a source, we ‘trust’.

But with the increasing number of influencers and company spending more on influencer marketing. The industry is also facing sturdy pressure to show its effectiveness to the brands and their worthiness to the consumers. Every influencer carries the responsibility to make sure that what they are sharing online is not harmful, fake, or offensive. There are many instances in which the influencers exploited their power, the main cause behind it is that there is no proper legal and accountability framework that monitors and regulates the industry. Influencers these days are looking at the fat paycheck that they get rather than looking at the fact whether the brand is authentic or shares the same morality and personal values as they. As a result, consumers are now losing trust in the ones with whom they were initially able to relate with. Recently the Ad Standard Council, a non-government body that ensures protection of consumer’s interest, came up with the decision on how people are to consume the branded content. For instance, when an influencer endorses a product in their video, it’s a mandate for them to disclose that the ad is sponsored in the first thirty seconds of the video and to include hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored in the description. Whether these rules are monitored loosely is again a question left unanswered. According to the Social Media Trend 2020 released by social media analysis firms Talkwalker’s, there is a huge increase in the number of fake influencers and almost one-third of the marketers have already decreased their marketing spend on influencer marketing and this just one of the cases. There are multiple such cases one of them also being that the influencers out of greed take in a lot of ads and that’s why their followers find it difficult to associate them with a particular brand and moreover since the motivation for the influencers is money, the fan can easily identify that the influencers are not using the product themselves and hence asking them that do they themselves use the product or not, cases like this have seen a rise.

Influencer Marketing is a very effective channel to reach customers. With the rise of social media influencers and the availability of the internet, it has become one indispensable tool for marketers which they can’t ignore ‘not to use’. Though there are rising cases where influencer marketing is not effective, it also the company’s responsibility to understand which influencer is more authentic and have a greater conversion rate. At the same time, identifying which all influencers are specific and relevant is indispensable. Keeping the same strategy and rendering the service of the same influencers will not suffice but it is a dynamic process that requires proper monitoring from the marketing team. Marketers need to have defined objectives and corresponding KPIs to monitor the performance will go a long way. Just like every coin has two sides, the Influencer market also has its pros and cons, but it depends on the marketing team how well they use it if used properly it is the most rewarding customer acquisition method.