The influencer market continued to grow this year and predictions are 2019 will be no different, but will next year see more controversy surround the channel?
Influencers caused outrage over their lack of authenticity and brands were caught using influencers that conflicted with their values.
There was the now-infamous Instagram post by UK influencer Scarlett London for Listerine that came under fire for being overly staged.
Even the Australian government couldn’t escape the authenticity issue on Instagram and had to ban influencers from all future campaigns after it was revealed influencers used in its fitness campaign had previously promoted alcohol and extreme dieting products.
Even AdNews felt the fury of one particular influencer who we called into question after referencing killing kittens on stage at a conference.
More recently, the AANA responded to years of criticism about the unhealthy standards Instagram places on people by rolling out new guidelines stating advertising cannot portray unrealistic body images.
New tools to better vet influencers were also rolled out this year to help brands better connect with the most effective influencers and improve brand safety.
Natalie Giddings, The Remarkables Group managing director
From the movement we are seeing, I’m predicting a doubling of the number of brands setting themselves up with their first dedicated influencer marketing role in-house in 2019. For the last two years, it’s only been a sprinkling of businesses - mostly Melbourne based.
It’s a great signal as we see a movement away from quantity to quality. Unlocking the best results is tough for a generalist, without the skills or bandwidth to cultivate best practice when a field is growing so rapidly.
Sharyn Smith, Social Soup CEO
Influencer marketing in 2019 will continue to drive for authenticity and phase out fake influence. Audits will be advanced through AI methods and influence scoring. Partnerships will be the new model as brands focus on aligning with the right value-based influencers in order to authentically connect to audiences. There will be a rise in nano-influencers: those influencers who are the most trusted and influential to their connected friends and family. As the most trusted subset of influencers, they will carve out clear role in the influencer ecosystem and will make more impact for influencer marketing.
Anthony Svirskis, Tribe CEO
Influencer generated content will break through social media and become prevalent in outdoor and display. Conversations and solutions will move from fraud protection to measurement and attribution. This will lead to greater application into e-commerce with Instagram shopping creating the foundations for this major category evolution. These changes in general will increase influencer marketing credence in the budgets of agencies and brands, and open up the category to SMEs who crave the measurement and performance aspect.
Aaron Brooks, Vamp co-CEO
The transparent reporting of data will become increasingly important in 2019. We need creative strategies to be data-driven so we can ensure brands’ campaigns align with their business objectives and are reaching the intended audience. That way, brands can gain real insight on how to optimise future initiatives. Vamp will be offering more in-depth campaign reporting to help their clients achieve this in 2019.
Detch Singh, Hypetap co-CEO
The depth of data we are now able to deliver for influencer campaigns will start to serve as a litmus test for what resonates on social media. These data-driven insights are going to be able to inform decisions on what content will perform across other media channels. Additionally, as with prior years, increased sophistication around brand safety, fraud detection and depth of reporting will see brands increasing their spend as comfort and success with the category grows.
Suzie Shaw, We Are Social managing director
Next year will see an acceleration in the trend towards marketers using influencers to create branded content, instead of agencies, production companies, and publishers. Brands can bypass agencies and production companies because many influencers have now developed excellent skills in creating high-quality branded content, at a fraction of the cost. They can also bypass publishers because many influencers have in a sense become the new specialist magazines themselves, building solid, engaged audiences, often larger than those of mainstream media outlets. They're also more flexible than publishers, since they will generally allow the content to be syndicated across other channels, not just their own.
Esther Wilson, Hyland general manager of content and creative
Discipline and accountability of the channel will improve in three ways:
1. Transparency around the location, gender and authenticity of followers. Hyland introduced a standard trading metric this year in Audience of Value (AoV) that we see the industry continuing to adopt. AoV is the number of followers that can take meaningful action from seeing sponsored content, verified using third party data.
2. Influencers will embrace the "pay to play" model, boosting to their own followers beyond limited organic reach.
3. Influencers will declutter their feeds to increase cut-through for paying brands, starting with a reduction in unpaid PR coverage.
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