While COVID-19 had an expected dampening effect on influencer marketing spend in the past few months, it seems things are finally starting to look up for both brands and influencers. After all, global spend on digital branded content was to double from $7bn in 2018 to $13.4bn this year, according to a forecast by digital company Polar, though this clearly hasn’t come to pass. However, the slowly learning to co-exist with the pandemic, and this is being reflected in influencer ad spend.
Influencer marketing platform Takumi conducted a survey in August, interviewing over 3,500 marketers, influencers and consumers, to get a better picture of the influencer landscape in the past 12 months. The results were interesting to say the least.
According to the study, almost three quarters of all marketers (73%) are now allocating a greater proportion of their resources to influencer marketing than they were a year ago across the US, UK, and Germany, three countries with some of the highest numbers of verified Instagram influencers.
Takumi found that marketers in sectors more traditionally associated with influencer marketing are among those most in agreement with this statement, including retail (79%) and sales, media & marketing (76%).
However, Takumi says that other more alternative sectors are also significantly reporting a greater allocation of resources towards influencer marketing in the past twelve months, including legal (79%), manufacturing (75%), education (75%), IT & telecoms (75%), architecture, engineering & building (73%), finance (71%), arts & culture (60%), healthcare (63%), travel & transport (47%).
“Encouragingly for the industry, and perhaps surprisingly, marketers in more traditional advertising channels are among those most increasing resources for influencer marketing, including ‘Out Of Home’ (OOH), digital and billboard advertising (83.3%), print (80%) and TV & Radio (81.3%),” the report found. “This reflects marketers’ growing familiarity with influencers and a heightened trust in their ability to deliver ROI across a more diverse range of channels.”
Speaking of ROI, a third (30%) of consumers agree that brands that use influencers to communicate are more compelling and Takumi’s data shows that marketers clearly recognize the strong ROI potential: almost two thirds (60%) agree that influencer marketing provides the best ROI for brand marketing campaigns, when compared with traditional advertising.
Among the three countries surveyed, different marketing channels were found to result in better ROI. In the UK, Instagram is king (21%), with marketers agreeing that it delivers the best overall. In Germany, YouTube (23%) is the clear winner, while in the US online advertising (28%) is the most rewarding.
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Surprisingly to some, and as per the consumers they surveyed, Takumi said that TikTok was named only the fifth most popular channel for engaging with influencers (14%), with just Twitch (8%) and Triller (2%) ranking below it. Meanwhile, YouTube remains the most common channel for consumers to engage with influencers (47%) followed by Instagram (37%), Pinterest (17%) and Snapchat (15%).
In regards to whether consumers would be open to seeing influencers featured in traditional advertising mediums such as billboards and TVCs, there was a clear divide in opinion. Over a third (38%) of consumers surveyed are open to the idea. However, almost as many (31%) disagree. 16-24 year olds are most open to the idea of seeing influencers appear in traditional media channels, with over half agreeing (54%). This number decreased steadily across the older age groups, with almost half (43%) of over 55s being actively opposed to influencers appearing in more traditional mediums, perhaps due to being disillusioned by traditional advertising over the years.
“The marketing landscape has changed to mirror the shattering of the media landscape. control has moved from media and brands to the consumer. communicators need to entertain and inform rather than interrupt with overt sales messages,” influencer marketing professional advisor Scott Guthrie told Takumi.
Indeed, pandemic or not, it seems that influencer marketing is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, even if the industry faced a temporary hiccup with COVID-19, as it’s clear that advertising spend on these online personalities is rebounding and actually seen as more important than ever to help trigger buyer interest.
You can find the full report here for extended insights.