64% of marketers prefer to work with micro-influencers (5,000 to 100k followers) compared to 16% choosing to work with celebrities (500k+ followers), according to new research from Activate.
Another 47% said they worked with mid-tier influencers (100k-500k followers) on a regular basis. Meanwhile, nano-influencers (< 5k followers) are capturing a smaller chunk of interest at 26%. Although nano-influencer popularity continues to rise, they haven’t sparked the interest of marketers fully just yet.
The majority of respondents (34%) worked with 5-10 influencers per campaign, another 23% are sticking to fewer than five influencers.
Engagement rate continues to be the most common KPI to measure campaign success (82%) in 2019 (80% in 2017). However, other lower funnel impact such as traffic and sales conversion are gaining traction among marketers.
“We are now seeing brands feel confident to push boundaries in terms of execution and really taking a much more thoughtful, nuanced approach to working with creators,” said ACTIVE CEO, Kamiu Lee. “Brands are increasingly looking to vet influencers on both qualitative and quantitate aspects and looking more deeply at their ability to truly engage an audience in conversation.”
As the industry matures, more marketers and brands are looking for unconventional influencers with nano-influencers as their most likely choice (41%). Influencer duos are also beginning to be considered more often (37%), followed by pet influencers (23%).
Brands are still very much testing the waters by employing different volumes of influencers. Although the majority of brands stick to less than 20 influencers per campaign (48%), the largest campaign in 2018 included over 500 influencers.
Although sponsored content is still the go-to for influencer marketing campaigns (83%), the industry is finding additional ways to work with these creatives. 60% of marketers said they worked with influencers in a content creation capacity, whilst 51% employed influencers for seeding and sampling.
Content (89%) and engagement rates (81%) are the top two criteria for marketers when checking out influencers to work with. Importantly, marketers now understand that vetting is crucial in finding the right creatives to work with.
In addition, over 50% of marketers in the survey stated they had a process in place to check influencers for fraud including bots and fake followers, up from 25% in 2018. Another 66% demand that social media platforms take more action on fraudulent activities.
Interestingly, influencer content isn’t fleeting, instead 83% of marketers are repurposing content for organic social means, whilst 78% use it for programmatic, retargeting or paid social ads.
With so many opportunities to trial new formats and influencers, it is unsurprising that the majority of marketers are increasing their budgets this year. Indeed, 70% said they would boost budgets from 2018 to 2019.