The power of influencers continues to rise in 2018, with more brands looking to cement mutually beneficial relationships with those who hold sway over consumer interests and social feeds. Our FHR influencer marketing experts put together some trends that we see will start to change the influencer relations landscape this year.
1. More departments involved
We see more departments engaging with influencers (avg. 4+ within organizations) and forcing departments to work even closer together. The result will be more diverse influencer programs, more shared content across the Paid/Earned/Owned mix, more influencer-driven business decisions and products.
2. Paid dominates
Organic isn’t dead, but we expect paid (either to contracting with influencers to create content or apply social application techniques to promote content) to continue to evolve in 2018. Brands will need to stay on top on platform developments that allow them to extend visibility for influencer content and disclose any paid partnerships.
3. Transparent measurement
Brands want to know what they are paying for. Projecting performance will drive influencer selection and is becoming the gatekeeper to getting approvals on contracting influencers. Comprehensive performance reports will need to be developed to show how influencer programs are enabling brands to hit their KPIs.
4. More than a storyteller
We predict more influencers evolving beyond just content creation. That means more influencers in TV ads. More influencers co-created products. More influencers evolving personal brands into media sites (and empires). And more AI-generated influencers.
5. Committed to long-term relationships
Influencers are increasingly committed to long-term brand relationships… and long-term storytelling. Influencers will continue to prefer long-term partnerships, and will put a premium on one-off campaigns, as their audiences prefer "long-term, short burst" content consumption. Long-term relationships also add authenticity to #ad or #paid or #sponsored content, as opposed making the content feel isolated and promotional-only.
6. Focus on (real) followers
With fake followers a hot topic, combined with the emergence of Influencer Pods, we expect to see a shift in conversation away from total amount of followers to active or engaged followers. Influencers will need to balance having real, engaged followers with the pressure to maintain high engagement within platforms with ever-changing algorithms.
7. Save Instagram for self
Instagram may become a no-play-zone for larger influencers/celebrities. More and more, talent want Instagram to be their personal channel where they share things that happen in their life – not with brands. Some influencers have already made the shift to segment their “business/partnership” profiles from their own, personal profiles.
8. Consolidation of vendors
There is a glut of vendors. And the market is ripe for M&A. We’ve already seen moves made and expect more in 2018.