Defined as a form of marketing that identifies individuals who have influence on potential customers and builds marketing activities around them, Influencer Marketing has been with us for a while now. Brands and agencies rank it as their top strategic priority for 2019 and the rules of the game has changed, according to the Global State of Influencer Marketing 2019.

The report notes that this increased interest is emerging even in the face of the challenges brands and agencies face in executing influencer marketing initiatives. See the statistics below:

Key Objectives of Influencer Marketing

When asked what the key objectives for influencer marketing initiatives were, respondents cited brand visibility, lead generation, search for more creative campaigns and added loyalty from their customer base. The graph below presents the figures:

The New Influencer Selection Criteria

The research report reveals a sea change in influencer selection criteria. Before now, the first criterion for influencer selection used to be the size of the influencer’s readership or community or the number of followers on Twitter or Instagram. Things have changed drastically owing to the fact that bots can now auto-like, auto-comment or auto-follow selected accounts.

In order of priority, brands and agencies now select influencers based on the following criteria:

  • Coherence of posts with brand message
  • Quality and creativity of content
  • Level of interaction on relevant publications (engagement)
  • Size of community and readership
  • Cost involved

Less is Better

The study reveals that 71% of the respondents prefer to work with fifty influencers or less. They would rather create long-lasting relationships with influencers that reflect their brand values rather than spread themselves thin on efforts that do not hit the bull’s eye. See the statistics below:

What’s the catch?

The use of influencers is not new to PR. Before the advent of social media and the attendant changes, we used to call them opinion leaders. And we used them to solve complex communication problems, market ideas and address issues for our organizations or clients. We still do. We now call it influencer relations management.

What this study is telling us is that relying on the number of readership and followers alone, when it comes to influencer marketing, which focuses more on customers, could be misleading. You need to consider other factors in order to, not only get the best results, but also prevent injury to your brand’s reputation, which an influencer who is not in sync with your brand values could bring.

About the Report

The report is based on a global survey of over 800 Marketing and Public Relations professionals, and is meant to provide actionable insights on the level of maturity of Influencer Marketing around the world and help professionals elevate their Influencer Marketing strategies.

The survey was conducted by Talkwalker, a Listening and Analytics Company, between November 2018 and January 2019.