Top 10 Trends in Influencer Marketing in 2018

Influencer marketing came into place as the unlawful and rebel teenager of digital marketing. However, powered by data and technology, powered by data and technology, this billion dollar market is now mature and ready to be fully integrated in the marketing strategy.

In this post, we will look at the current state of influencer marketing and the trends that will shape it in 2018. To read the full-report, download our E-Book and get ahead of the competition!

Trend 1) Marketing Tech and Ad Tech

In 2018, the adoption of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will significantly impact how brands identify relevant influencers and ultimately determine the success of influencer endorsements. Marketers are expected to double the applied usage of AI to collect and make sense of market data. Martech platforms like Sidebuy allow advertisers and agencies to better harness the power of their data and equip them to discover influencers within their specific niche.

Trend 2) Visual Listening will Convert Selfies to Sales

The world of influencer marketing is highly reliant on visual content. The number of #sponsored influencer content on Instagram alone has increased as high as 90% in the previous year and is expected to rise at the same rate in 2018. With the popularity of short-lived content on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook stories or Snaps, the importance of analyzing them in real-time and at high speed is also increasing. In 2018, with the deployment of visual listening and image recognition technologies, businesses will be demanding influencer-brand matches optimized for aesthetics and visual identity.  Analyzing the visual content on social media is beyond tracking hashtags and mentions, and by leveraging technology, advertisers will be empowered to manage their relationships and campaigns with influencers strategically.

Trend 3) Instagram will Dominate Influencer Marketing Channels

The influencer marketing growth on Instagram is expected to grow by $500 million in 2018. After the introduction of Instagram stories, the growth of Snapchat has gone down by 83%, and Instagram gained, even more, importance, especially amongst the millennials. 99.3% of influencers think of Instagram as a great place to connect with their community. With the roll out  of shoppable technologies on Instagram, it will be easier for a brand to track and optimize the ROI of their collaborations with Instagram influencers. Influencer marketing platforms like Sidebuy streamline the process by collecting and analyzing data across the platforms and their content.

Trend 4) More Stringent and Strategic Regulations will be in Place

The FTC requires for influencers and brands to disclose sponsored partnerships in a clear and visible way by tagging #ad or #sponsored. While macro influencers and global brands are easier to spot and track,  micro influencers and small businesses are more difficult to screen and monitor. In 2018, we expect regulations to become more stringent and auditing to be applied extensively through the use of technology.  In 2018, with the availability of more data and best practices, the regulations are going to be crafted and implemented with more clarity and maturity. To maintain authenticity, while still disclosing the nature of collaboration, it will be essential for influencers to create content that is unique, creative and naturally woven into the context.

Trend 5) Marketers will Integrate Influencer Marketing into their Digital Strategy

Influencer campaigns must be in sync with the rest of the brand’s marketing efforts, and it should be considered as a cohesive plan than to avoid the brand’s message getting lost along the way. Influencers can be feeding into the other channels to increase effectiveness, email marketing, content creation, event hosting, or even part of traditional media campaigns such as TV ads. To craft campaigns that offer compelling and converting messages, it will be crucial for brands to adopt tools that can effectively simplify the implementation of an integrated marketing strategy.

Trend 6) Ambassadorship Campaigns will Be on The Rise

Brands who mass-contact influencers and send products for one-off partnerships hoping for increases in sales are shooting in the dark. Collaborating with influencers on a long-term basis has the strategic objective of turning them into brand advocates, multiplying the touch points with the target audience and increasing the conversion rate of a campaign. Based on a recent report, nearly 71% marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic or highly strategic channel and more than 80% considering creating one-on-one relationships with influencers as their top priority ion the year to come.

Trend 7) Influencer Marketing will be a B2B affair

In 2018, there will be a shift in B2B advertising, as more and more marketers refer to industry experts with a high social presence and cache to effectively reach their target audience. As more industry experts understand the potential value of having a social presence and an online brand, more of these people are making an effort to establish themselves as influencers in their niche. These experts, or in other words influencers, are effective channels especially for the B2B sector as they offer a high degree of authority within the social community. The buyer journey in B2B advertising is longer and sometimes much more complicated than B2C advertising for there must be set content that can guide the buyer at every step of this complex journey. B2B consumers are more likely to spend most of their journey gathering information from third-party and reliable sources and influences can be a valuable source  when it comes to expertise. Also, with the wider reach of the influencers the content will be amplified to their communities and networks as well.

Trend 8) AR and VR will Boost Engagement

With the popularity of smartphones, social media and content overload, the attention span of consumers have diminished by 50% in the past decade necessitating the incorporation of highly visual and engaging content, such as short videos for brand promotions. What would disrupt the influencer marketing industry when it comes to video, will be the implementation of VR and AR into influencer content to engage with the consumers at a higher level. As the incorporation of Augmented Reality in digital marketing and social media is becoming more widespread, there will be more influencers who can engage with their followers by sharing content that helps them experience the product or service at a broader and more personalized level. 

Trend 9) Creative Storytelling Will stand out

The oversaturation of social media feeds with sponsored content will gradually desensitize consumers towards such content and ultimately causes consumers to react to them the way they react to ads. In fact, 86% of consumers are suffering from ad blindness. The average American is exposed to 5,000 ads per day, while only 14% can recall at the end of the day which brands and what was promoted to them. As more followers are becoming aware of the arrangements involved in influencer marketing campaigns and the monetization component of sponsored content, the impact of sponsored posts will taper off. For influencers, preserving the trust and attention of their followers – while getting paid for content – may be the most significant challenge in the year to come. Influencers that do not embrace creativity and storytelling will stagnate in 2018, and brands will invest to  foster engaging and thoughtful campaigns with tailored branded content.

Trend 10) Say Goodbye to Amateur Stories, Scandinavian Minimalism, and Marble Flatlays

When it comes to aesthetics, the Scandinavian minimalist vibes, the flat lays against a marble backdrop or the poppy pastels, will not be sufficient. This coming year, there will be more and more influencers posting photos within mundane and realistic contexts, such as a 7 Eleven or a newspaper stand. Expect a high fashion luxury influencer to pose dressed to the nines in front of a Chinese fruit market. Moreover, with the great success of the Cinemagraph apps such as Kira Kira, you can expect greater diversified and dynamic photos.

To read the full-report, download our E-Book and get ahead of the competition!

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