For all the hype around influencers these days, many strategists still find their clients asking, “Do influencers work better than traditional media?” There is good reason for skepticism. In the past, data limitations have made influencer marketing more difficult to track than traditional media, but this is quickly changing as influencer marketing tactics get smarter and more advanced. Further, research shows that both consumers and marketers prefer the more organic-feeling nature of influencer marketing to traditional media, and that influencers can drive better performance than traditional distribution channels when sharing branded content.
The most crucial advantage that influencer marketing has over traditional media is authenticity. When in comes down to it, people trust people, not ads, and influencer marketing is one of the most powerful branding tools available. In fact, 90% of consumers say they trust recommendations from their peers or trusted authorities more than all other forms of advertising. In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with branded advertising, trust matters. Influencers lend a relatable human face to your brand and can promote it organically by incorporating brand messaging into the kind of content their audiences have come to love and expect from them. This strategy works: 70% of people say they’d rather learn about products through content rather than traditional advertising.
Influencer marketing strengths are not limited to driving brand awareness; influencer recommendations are a key factor in many consumers’ decision-making process. 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions and 84% take action based on the reviews and recommendations of trusted sources above all other forms of advertising. The conversion numbers further illustrate that that influencer marketing is a powerful tool for driving sales with word-of-mouth marketing driving twice the sales of paid ads. 40% of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.
Consumers aren’t the only group that love influencer marketing–marketers who employ influencers marketing tactics are believers as well. This year 84% of marketers will be using influencer marketing in their media spends amounting to a projected $10.7B. Many marketers believe in influencer marketing to such an extent that 41% prefer it to traditional media.
Even better results are on the horizon! The statistics we’ve been citing until now, although impressive, are from the old era of influencer marketing when there was little control over scale of delivery, performance, and targeting. Look forward to exponentially better results as influencer marketing teams up with paid social in 2017! When influencer campaigns are boosted through paid social, we see incredible results with video distribution campaigns performing 8x better than the pre-roll industry benchmark. Further, when influencers are added to paid social campaigns, marketers can expect 3x better engagement* than if they had run a branded paid social campaign!
To further improve awareness and conversions, your brand can retarget viewers exposed to your influencer campaign with traditional display and pre-roll ads. Continued touch-points and the combined messaging mix is a proven tactic for driving sales. Brands have reported a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when users were exposed to both brand and influencer messaging and users who are retargeted are 70% more likely to convert.
The bottom line is that influencer marketing, paid social, and traditional media all have different strengths. A smart marketer will leverage an alchemical mix of all three for optimal results.