Roughly one third of brands are not disclosing influencer marketing as sponsored content because they believe that this may impact consumer trust, according to a new study by the Influencer Intelligence association in collaboration with Econsultancy.
At the same time, 54% of consumers admitted that they do not view sponsored posts by influencers as negative and don’t mind a post carrying the #ad or #sponsored label as long as the content is relevant to them.
Transparency continues to be an issue for marketers with 65% admitting that the line between ad and genuine recommendations can be blurry. Meanwhile, 66% of consumers consider influencer content paid for by brands no different to advertising.
Thus, 64% of marketers believe that action should be taken in order to improve transparency. Indeed, 83% of marketers believe that improved data could add more transparency and authenticity to influencer campaigns.
Almost 65% of marketers want influencers to use hashtags to indicate that a post is sponsored.
One of the core challenges with influencer marketing continues to be measurement of ROI. Indeed, 22% of participants said they found proving ROI the most challenging part of influencer marketing.
However, the majority of marketers (84%) consider ROI a key aspect of the success of influencer marketing in the future. Yet, just 18% believed that influence marketing was a vital part of their overall marketing ROI.
85% of marketers consider engagement to be main benchmark for a successful campaign, followed by social media traffic (59%), revenue generation (45%) and web analytics (40%).
Among the key trends in influencer marketing appears to be a swing toward micro-influencers. Brands are increasingly looking to establish longer and more meaningful partnerships with often smaller influencers who are able to deliver authentic looking content. Some brands are also working with groups of micro influencers to reach desired scale.
Over half (56%) agreed that micro-influencers were more cost-effective than top-tier talent, whilst 55% said they have better connections with specific target audiences. Over a third of marketers also consider micro-influencers to be more authentic.
In terms of the content they produce, 61% of marketers note that micro-influencer were appealing because they produced more relatable content, whilst 43% said they engaged in discussions.
When it comes to campaign success, no recipe fits all, as 24% of marketers admit that every influencer campaign is different. Long-term partnerships with groups of influencers have proven successful for 23% and 20% said that a more layered campaign approach with a tiered group of influencers worked well for them.
The top tools marketers use to find influencers include manual searches across social media platforms (54%), recommendations from peers (38%) and the use of specialist talent or social media agencies to help identify influencers (36%).
Perhaps Luis Di Como, executive vice president for global media at Unilever, described it best when he recently said: “I believe we are still in the early stages [of influencer marketing] and we need to continue working with influencers to see what measurement and success look like to create a mutual benefit partnership rooted in transparency and trust.”