- Social influencers are trusted sources for product information, and their affinity with a brand must be authentic to be effective, according to a survey by influencer marketing agency Clever made available to Mobile Marketer. Nine out of 10 social influencers said they must like a brand to accept its sponsorship, and that the connection they have with one is more important than money.
- The survey found that 71% of influencers' income is almost exclusively from sponsored content, versus more traditional ad streams like display ads, affiliate links and e-commerce.
- Creative expression is key, per the survey, as 80% of respondents said they're deterred to work with brands that control their content too much. Many brands retreat to prior digital advertising habits and try to over-manage content, despite their efforts to seek out the variety and quality of creative expression that social influencers can bring, per the survey.
Authenticity has been cited so often as a key attribute of a successful brand that it's beginning to feel hackneyed. And yet, it's a key reason for social influencers to embrace a brand and convey that enthusiasm to their audiences. In the age of fake news, phony Facebook friendships, swipeable Tinder dates and social media one-upmanship, mobile users are seeking a genuine connection with people online.
Consumers can tell when the blogger is doing something genuinely or because they're being paid, according to Clever. That elevates the importance of the influencer's creative control so that the partnership feels authentic to consumers and drives the best results. But for brands, authenticity can be expensive. More than 80% of respondents confirmed that they charge a premium for month-long brand exclusivity. Influencers seek as much as 3x their regular rates to offset business they may lose to contracts demanding strict or prolonged exclusivity, the survey found.
However, there are also indications that some influencers are more concerned about making money than being authentic. According to Digiday, some influencers are gaming Instagram's algorithm to boost visibility in the platform's Explore tab by partnering with fellow influencers and participating in pods.
Influencer marketing is still a relatively new tactic, but it's quickly becoming an invaluable component to social strategies for those who have jumped in. Research from Bloglovin found that 32% of marketers using influencers see the tactic as essential to their overall marketing strategy, and 41% reported more success with influencer campaigns than with traditional advertising. Sixty-three percent of those using influencers planned on increasing that budget this year, according to Bloglovin. Meanwhile, intermingling editorial content with endorsements has spurred ethical concerns. The Federal Trade Commission in April said it warned social media influencers that they needed to provide better disclosures about promoting or endorsing products on social media.