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The rise of influencer marketing

So-called "influencer" marketing is more popular than ever before. Here's why.

‘Influencer’ marketing is making use of well-known people on the Internet to market your product or service. These influencers are people with a huge follower base and authority to influence their fans or followers in some way. From clothes to make-up, tampons to towels, any kind of company can easily select and use an influencer for any campaign or product and see results.

You may be thinking to yourself – ‘influencer marketing is nothing new’. And you’d be right to think so. The act of using highly regarded and influential individuals to endorse consumer goods and services has been around for centuries, most recognisably when popular celebrities feature in advertising campaigns.

But something has changed recently that has sent shockwaves through the marketing world. This is, put simply, that the current influencers brands are able to work with are infinitely more humanised, approachable and accessible than ever before.

Influencers were discovered largely thanks to the power of social media. And with consumers now spending up to five hours a day on mobile devices (and over half of this time interacting on social media platforms), influencers are evolving as key opinion leaders for specific niche groups, attracting intimate, interested and engaged followings.

It is not surprising brands have tapped into the massive market in order to get their message across. Instagram has over 700 million users, sees 95 million photos and videos per day and users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day.

It’s no surprise these platforms have become host to a significant number of marketing activations. Influencer marketing is generating a mammoth return for companies by connecting brands to individuals in a personal and powerful way. It’s the digital version of word-of-mouth. These influencer-led endorsements are considered trustworthy, authoritative and exponentially more effective than traditional advertising mediums.

According to Google statistics, in the last 12 months alone there has been a 325 percent increase in searches for ‘influencer marketing’. Results from a survey of 272 marketing managers surveyed online globally in 2017 said influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method.

Also according to this survey, 37 percent of brands now dedicate a budget for this type of marketing with a 67 percent chance to increase this budget over the next 12 months.

Influencers are seen as more ‘relatable’ than a standard celebrity, which can be why consumers look to them for trusted products and authenticity of sale.

Over the next few years, more and more brands will begin to align themselves with social media influencers as a result of customers expressing an increasing preference for 'authentic' opinion over and above the voice of the brand itself.

This story first appeared atThe Register.