2019 Influencer Marketing Predictions!

After an extensive review of the influencer industry, we composed our own 2019 influencer prediction “super-cut” list. We surveyed and analyzed over 150+ articles, spoke to leading opinion leaders, influencers, agencies and more…. all in order to get a deeper understanding of the ideas and trends that will shape the influencer industry in 2019.

And a Happy New Year!

As we enter the new year, nearly every media outlet tries its luck at predicting the future trends for its industry. Influencer and affiliate marketing is no different in this regard. If you follow the industry you were probably been bombarded with 2019 influencer marketing predictions this month. This is a great tradition, but the amount of predictions is simply overwhelming.

So our team at  Shoperr did the hard work for you. We highlighted the top trends and insights that will have the most impact over the influencer landscape.

After going over every single article we could find, we composed our own 2019 prediction “super-cut” list. We surveyed over 150+ articles, publications and blogs from the last two quarters referencing influencer marketing, contacted industry leaders, extracted quotes and summarized interviews. After that, we analysed the data for a deeper understanding of buzzwords, trends and topics that have geared the industry over the last year.  

people holding 2019 baloons

The result is the most accurate and widespread prediction summary of trends that will shape the influencer industry in 2019. We’re proud to present the 2019 prediction supercut!

Authenticity & Engagement will (Continue to) be Vital

holding phone cityscape

By all accounts, authenticity will remain the number one factor in the success of influencer marketing campaigns. Same goes for engagement, which will continue to be considered as the number one measure of success by brands and marketers.

These two factors are interrelated: authenticity is the qualitative attribute and engagement represents the quantitative. Brands looking to enhance their authenticity will have a positive impact on engagement KPIs, view rates; click rates and purchases. Generally, initiatives that yield higher engagement than average are perceived as more authentic.

Authenticity creates engagement. The most vital issue this year will be to make sure that your message is authentic if you’re an influencer, and that you pick a genuine influencer if you are a brand.

Engagement tracked from the brand’s side essentially reflects the type of connection  influencers have with their fanbase. One of the most frequent mentions overall was the importance of transparency. Influencers engaging in a direct, genuine dialogue with their followers are better at facilitating brand partnerships.

“dependent media will climb the ranks as new generations search for authenticity. Gen Z is here, and it’s unwilling to settle for the status quo. Independent media personalities like podcasters and YouTubers will thrive in 2019 within a world craving more authenticity and inclusivity. The media world will become much more interesting as more doors open for the artists expressing diverging opinions and less-common stories.”

AdWeek

Authenticity is probably one of the most valuable traits a brand can inherit from its wider user’s perception. This value has a direct correlation to other critical brand health metrics, such as trust, reliability, trial readiness etc. All contributing to positive brand equity, essential for building a brand’s reputation and popularity over time.

The principles that make influencer marketing effective will continue to the next year and develop further. For any skeptics in the crowd,  influencer marketing is definitely not going anywhere.  If brands and influencers manage to retain authenticity and engagement, Influencer marketing will continue its growth trajectory in 2019 as well.

Benchmarking and ROI Measurement Will Advance

table with charts and laptops

One of the most limiting issues of influencer marketing is the lack of definitive brand KPIs or any best practice to calculate ROI. Existing benchmarks fail to account for multiple content touchpoints for every marking initiative. However, this status is changing, with advanced tracking technologies and campaign data-science also covering influencer campaigns real impact and effectiveness.

“Brands are becoming more strategic in their focus when it comes to influencer marketing. They are no longer content with just having generic data or ‘vanity metrics’ on a campaign, they are delving deeper and want to know exactly which influencers and which types of content are influencing sales and translating into purchases.”

Ian Samuel, chief commercial officer, Buzzoole

A few years back as influencer marketing became more widely pronounced, brands entering this space did so with many unknowns and a significant amount of risk. They didn’t know what impact their campaign would have and it was difficult to establish a direct linkage to sales.

Today the landscape has greatly advanced with brands employing more in-depth planning cycles, researching and selecting the right influencers. There is already widespread use of advanced influencer-analytics engines like HYPR and Upfluence. Agencies are adopting AI technology to improve the match-rate quality between brands-influencers-and end users. More sophisticated attribution methods, like Nielsen’s Brand Integration Intel, are used to measure and compare brand promotions and product placements across media touchpoints. Such advancements are being adopted by agencies like Buzzoole, bringing influencer focused outfits to adopt a more scientific approach.

With this in mind, we can expect 2019 to be the year when the channel of influencer marketing is held to far closer scrutiny than it has been previously with marketers looking beyond social metrics. It will be more important for influencers and agencies to develop robust measurement capabilities that effectively capture first-party data, in order to compare it with advertising campaigns using other media and prove that an investment into influencer marketing is worthwhile.”

Ian Samuel, chief commercial officer, Buzzoole

There is a higher demand for benchmarking.  This year more data will be actively collected and shared by 3rd parties.

By the end of the year there will be more robust and effective standards for measuring success. The goal by every brands should be to collect as much data as they can. It’s vital in order to establish a consensus about what constitutes a successful campaign. As the influencer market becomes more data conscious this will encourage more brands and marketers to enter this space. And an increase in measurement techniques will lead to a better idea of success.  

Expect to see data and benchmarks to be easily accessible to a broader span of industry players. A wide variety of companies, entrepreneurs, agencies and influencer led bodies are already doing much of the work in standardizing the industry.

Integration of eCom, Influencer Marketing & Social Media

credit card online shopping

This year will be the year where direct-to-consumer will make a major advance into influencer marketing territory. Expect to see big moves to integrate social media platforms with influencers that will continue to act as brand ambassadors but also perform as active sellers.

Social media created an infrastructure for influencers to monetize and promote their content. In 2019, this will happen with added standardized formats. Instagram is ahead of its time again, introducing Creator Accounts. Select users will have higher privileges, like greater feed customization and advanced communication with fans. 

This is used to optimize frictions for both influencers and consumers and create a true direct-to-consumer eCommerce experience. Furthermore, it improves transparency with users and the influencer-business partnerships become highly visible. Platforms are also geared towards a “transperant-mindset” to avoid future trouble with regulators.

The integration of stories and other interactive media formats – interactive customized overlays, stickers, image product linking – solidify the shift towards performance driven results and direct-to-consumer marketing, as opposed to the traditional [vertical] marketing funnels.

“Influencer generated content will break through social media and become prevalent in outdoor and display. Conversations and solutions will move from fraud protection to measurement and attribution. This will lead to greater application into e-commerce with Instagram shopping creating the foundations for this major category evolution. These changes in general will increase influencer marketing credence in the budgets of agencies and brands, and open up the category to SMEs who crave the measurement and performance aspect.”

Anthony Svirskis, Tribe CEO

Competition, Cooperation & Partnerships

handshake

The influencer landscape is continuously changing. Today, the share of advertising dollars is becoming widely diversified and dispersed across a broader spectrum on influencers.  

New influencers entering the space are experiencing higher growth rates, in subscribers and followers, than their predecessors. Competition for brand attention is becoming more fierce between the Micro and Mega influencers.

Most predict that this year micro influencers will have about the same chances as mega influencers to grab advertising dollars. There’s an innate understanding that micro influencers, with a more tightly niched follower base, yield higher ROI and convert better, compared to mega influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers.

It is worth mentioning though, that everyone (and we mean everyone) is predicting that micro influencers will have unprecedented success this year. But in order for brands and micro influencers to succeed together, there needs to place emphasis on upholding authenticity.

Amid the competition there will be greater cooperation as well. It’s likely that we’ll see new organizations, like the BOI board, and influencer based groups will rise up in order to fend off strong competitors. This is true for both brands and influencers.

Expect brands and smaller retailers to band together in order to compete with giants like Amazon. The same goes for Influencers. They will cooperate mostly for the sake of cross promotional activities, either through agency activities or independently. A group of like-minded influencers can help one another to raise popularity and create strong network effects which brands crave for.

Another aspect of this is the shift towards more meaningful partnerships between brands and influencers. Brands understand now that it’s better to build long-term, community oriented relationship, instead of making a quick but short lasting impact.

“I think for 2019 we will see brands start to look more towards longer term partnerships with influencers, as opposed to just one offs, as they start to see the long-term value of being able to tell an authentic and consistent story to an influencers’ audience over time. Also, brands are finding it is more effective to promote over social media than traditional media.”

Sssniperwolf, Creator with 21 million followers

Regulation & Standardization

white house

Industry standardization, benchmarks, and enveloping industry partnerships have one thing in common. They’re all fertile ground for regulations to be enforced.

In fact, regulatory action is already on its way. All signs point to the FTC and ASA (Advertising Standards Authority, the British counterpart) treating influencer marketing as a new wild-west market whithin advertising. This comes after reports of what can be considered to be deceptive practices of all kinds made waves last year.

But other developments fit perfectly with it. Benchmarking and the eventual introduction of AI will make it much easier to keep an eye on market practices, not to mention that this data is necessary to even define what’s worth monitoring.

Brand partnerships via social media platforms will make some obligatory practices more commonplace. When your account will be tagged as an influencer or creator account from the start, or if your promotional posts will have an #ad hashtag next to them by default, it will be much easier to comply with transparency guidelines and to avoid accidental deceptive advertising.

Consequently, the first problem that will be solved by the end of the year is fake engagement. Some big brands have recently put focus on this problem, and the community itself is actively developing tools to tackle the issue as we speak.

“For influencer marketing to truly deliver on its transformative potential, marketers need a more concrete and reliable way to identify fake followers and engagement, compare their performance to industry benchmarks, and determine the real reach and impact of social media spend”

TechCrunch (Captiv8 report)

Machine Learning & Future Platforms

robot

There were some predictions we reviewed that we found to be outstanding. The first relates to data and benchmarking. Affluent data creates an opportunity to apply machine learning technology to Influencer Marketing. As we move forward we will see more bots in service of agencies and platforms.

AI will eventually make some decisions about industry in-efficiencies. It will match the right influencer to each brand and will define standards and the viability of each influencer.

Second, brands and influencers are on the lookout for the next niche and platform, and this year we may see some alternative platforms rising. Similar to platforms like Twitch and Wattpad, expect to see platforms rise catering to specific audiences. This can possibly be fueled by controversy, such as YouTube’s infamous “adpocalypse” of 2017. In 2019, platforms will need to put a strong emphasis on community building in order to keep the competition at bay.

The most agreed upon projection was the continued growth of influencer marketing. If 2018 was the year when influencer marketing exploded, 2019 will be the year it grows into a highly effective and widely adopted marketing channel. This is the year in which influencer marketing will start to be taken seriously, taking itself seriously, and will become center stage in the marketing world.

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