A recent survey of 158 media marketers by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has found that Instagram is the most important channel for influencer marketing.
The survey results indicate that although 86% of marketers used Facebook for influencer marketing, as compared to 84% who use Instagram, 36% found Instagram to be the “most important” channel, followed by 20% of marketers who found Facebook to be the most important. Given that Facebook has a wider user-base than Instagram, marketers’ choice of the latter over the former as the most important channel suggests a recognition that advertising on Instagram is more effective than doing so on Facebook, at least with reference to influencer marketing.
If influencer marketing is dead, the 75% of respondents who said that they currently utilize influencers for their marketing campaigns clearly have not received the memo. Neither have the 43% who are planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing this year.
As to why this method of marketing is on the rise, Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA, said in a statement that “[i]t’s clear that the popularity of influencer marketing has increased among marketers in recent years, largely due to the growth and evolution of social media.” In particular, more and more marketers are “turning to influencers to help them combat ad blocking, leverage creative content in an authentic way, drive engagement, and reach millennial and gen Z audiences who avidly follow and genuinely trust social media celebrities.”
So what do brands use influencer marketing for? 86% of marketers surveyed said that one of their objectives is to increase “brand awareness”, while 69% stated “content creation and distribution” as one of their objectives. Slightly more than half indicated improving “brand perception” (56%) and driving sales (51%) as a targets for their influencer marketing campaigns. This suggests that while influencers are, in a large number of cases, considered content creators by the brands who hire them, they are first and foremost considered vehicles with which to raise audience awareness about the brand.
Finally, it seems like brands are not fully convinced of the effectiveness of influencer marketing, with only 36% of the marketers surveyed expressing their confidence that their efforts have met with positive results and a full 19% saying that it has been ineffective. Despite this, however, brands clearly are still keen on using influencer marketing as a means to reach out to their target audience. Perhaps this is because marketers are aware that the effectiveness of their influencer marketing campaign is not necessarily equivalent to the effectiveness of the medium itself in reaching out to their target audience. As with traditional advertising campaigns, one has to strategize an influencer marketing campaign well in order for it to be successful and it may be exactly such strategy that brands are missing out on.