INFLUENCER MARKETING 2019: Why brands can’t get enough of an $8 billion ecosystem driven by Kardashians, moms, and tweens

As influencers become more plentiful and proven, brand dollars have flooded into the space. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.

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Business Insider Intelligence

Partnering with influencers is already familiar to many brands, but the market is undergoing constant change: Brands must continually evolve their strategies accordingly. The market is rapidly expanding as influencer types have proliferated, with influencers filling every conceivable niche and sub-niche interest. Each of these types offer distinct benefits and trade-offs for brands. In addition to celebrities with massive followings like Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner, brands are increasingly tapping other key influencer types, including micro- and nanoinfluencers, kidfluencers, gaming influencers, and virtual (computer-generated) influencers. 

As social media becomes more entrenched in people's lives and takes on more functional uses beyond communication, like shopping, the role of influencers is set to only grow. And as e-commerce and social media converge, influencers will become increasingly vital intermediaries, helping to connect brands with consumers on social media in highly resonant, authentic ways that can deliver immediate returns.

In Influencer Marketing 2019, Business Insider Intelligence gives actionable recommendations for how brands can effectively navigate this changing and expanding market to meet campaign goals, and how they can evolve their relationships with influencers. Brands looking to partner with influencers need to to constantly renew their perspective to ensure that they mutually maximize the value of these partnerships. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Ader, Balmain, Brud, Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola, Discord, Dr. Pepper, Fable Studio, Facebook, Hershey's, Instagram, KFC, LinkedIn, NFL, Nike, Old Spice, Pinterest, Red Bull, Reddit, Sephora, Shadow, Snapchat, Socialyte, Spotify, Superplastic, The Diigitals, TikTok, Toonstar, Twitch, Twitter, Unilever, UTA, and YouTube.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data.
  • Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard for the group. Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub. 
  • There are two primary ways of categorizing influencers: reach and niche. 
    • Reach. As a general rule, targeted reach, cost-effectiveness, engagement, authenticity, and accessibility all go up as follower count goes down. 
    • Niche. Brands can leverage relevant niche influencers to more intentionally target audiences. 
  • Before pursuing a partnership, brands and influencers alike should ensure brand fit, meaning that an influencer is aligned with the brand and product. 
  • Brands should develop a streamlined but robust network of high-quality influencers to diversify their bets.
  • Brands are likely to increasingly prioritize longer-term partnerships with fewer, more authentic influencers.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the growth of brand spend on influencer marketing as influencers have become more plentiful and effective.
  • Discusses how social platform shifts impact the influencer market, and how platforms are embracing (or estranging) influencers and creators.
  • Outlines how the industry categorizes and values influencers according to follower count (reach) and area of expertise (niche), and the benefits and pitfalls of each type for brands.
  • Investigates how brands should approach three key emergent types of influencer, including kidfluencers, gaming influencers, and virtual influencers.
  • Explains how brands can confront and overcome key challenges of influencer marketing.
  • Envisions how brand relationships with influencers could grow or change in the future. 
  • Provides actionable steps for brands to best determine the best strategic approach.

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