Ever since the dawn of the 21st century, social media has grown from humble beginnings to a fundamental factor in our daily lives. But above anything else, it also became a vital marketing tool that allows eCommerce businesses to reach both loyal and new customers alike. And as more and more users flooded to the hottest platforms of the time, a significant portion of them took the initiative to become publishers themselves, by crafting content of all shapes and sizes. This marked the beginning of social media influencers, whose “influence” quickly grabbed the attention of marketers and companies around the globe.
Nowadays, more and more eCommerce brands are capitalising on the potential influencer marketing has to drive sales and create conversations. That is why it should come as no surprise to see that this once auxiliary marketing strategy has grown to a billion-dollar industry. But even so, many businesses are still on the ropes when it comes to using it, as a regular lead-generator. And the question they ask themselves the most is – “Does it really work?” That is why we will be looking at some of the most important statistical data that will shed some more light on the subject throughout this article.
The Who: Influencer Marketing and the Public
Let’s first circle back to the billion-dollar industry statement mentioned earlier. While the claim sounds rather vague on its own merits, there are some helpful data that can help us discover the specifics. For example, the Influencer Marketing Hub 2021 Benchmark Report shows us that over the course of just five years influencer marketing has increased in size by roughly $1.5 billion every year. In total, this brings the industry from a humble $1.7 billion to a substantial $13.8 billion this year.
Naturally, this uptrend does not exist in isolation. When comparing the interest in print advertising that is slowly becoming a relic of the past with that of influencer marketing, an inverse correlation can be found between the two. Simply put, the more print fades away, the more influencer marketing is there to take its place. And when you take that into consideration you will understand that with a change in interest also comes a change in budget…
Apart from the lofty interest metric, this change in budget terms is confirmed in the previously mentioned benchmark report, as well. Insights from the report indicate that while 59% of respondents already have a stand-alone budget for content marketing, a significant portion of them, or ¾ to be precise, are dedicating such for influencer marketing. This data is quite significant not only because it shows a positive trend, but because it highlights the fact that influencer marketing is set to become a regular marketing strategy for everyone. And by doing so it earns its rightful place right next to content marketing, whose disruptive impact in the past is looking more and more like that of its influencer-driven counterpart.
The What: Performance, Quality & the Return
Even so, explosive growth and increasing budgets would not be justified solely on their own. After all, what both companies and marketers are looking for are results. And does influencer marketing deliver, especially given the right tools. But to see it in numbers, we have to look towards a relevant study conducted by Mediakix.
According to 89% of the respondents, the return from making use of this channel is on par or better than that of other marketing initiatives. Not only that, but it is also able to deliver a stunning 11 times higher ROI or $11.69 for every dollar spent than that on other digital media. And such incredible results are what the dreams of every eCommerce entrepreneur are made of. That and top-quality leads of course, but yes you guessed it – both are part of what influencer marketing is happy to deliver.
Nevertheless, to find the proof needed to back this claim, we will have to return to the 2021 Influencer Marketing Hub benchmark report we explored earlier. Among its respondents, is a large majority confirming the valuable traffic generated from this novel channel. This majority represents a total of 72% of participants, who all agree on influencer marketing’s superiority when it comes to lead quality. Having all of this in mind, the logical question is: “How to get started?”
The Where: Channels are a Stage & Formats are the Play
Despite the excitement, there are still a few final factors to consider before springing into action – those that refer to the “Where.” To do this, let’s sift through the contents of the 2021 benchmark report one last time and examine the insights that tell us more about the social channel of choice for such campaigns. Expectedly, the data puts the influencers’ all-time favourite – Instagram in pole position, with 68% of participants using it for their influencer campaigns.
But whereas Instagram’s domineering position deservedly follows a long tenure, there is another channel l that is truly making steady waves in the social space. Coming in at second place is that exact same network, which has kept resonating in everyone’s ears recently – TikTok. And while it is quite close to tying with Facebook, the most significant takeaway is that Bytedance’s app wasn’t even on the map a year prior. Still being counted in the “other” category back then, TikTok has taken truly monumental steps to achieve the exponential rise towards the 45% share it has today.
Considering the disruptive impact the platform delivered on its way to the top, it should come as no surprise that the short-form video content formats it is best known for also left their mark. And as we move further and further into 2021 these marks become more and more apparent. At present, the same format continues to overshadow its competitors to such an extent that forced even Instagram to pivot towards it with IGTV.
Nevertheless, despite getting well acquainted with the who, the what and the where of influencer marketing throughout the article, there are still plenty of ways to get lost in the noise that permeates the space. This should not discourage you, however, far from it, as nowadays there are plenty more ways that can help steer you on the right track towards success. Leave all the heavy-lifting to us and start converting with influencer marketing today.
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