From beauty and fashion right through to lifestyles and decorating. Influencers have swept through marketing like a tidal wave.
Whether it will last is the question that many people among them marketers will still ask.
The speed of influencer growth and uptake by brands means that the measurement tools that are currently in place are somewhat limited. These tools are developing quickly as brands look to increase their understanding and budget application.
What is an influencer?
At the outset the main method of identifying as an influencer was the number of followers that an individual or group had. This meant that outside of celebrity circles there were increasing numbers of websites that were appearing with the promise of being able to provide followers for a fee.
The desire to separate influencers who purchased followers from those who had genuinely acquired them meant that reporting tools have developed along with the focus on follower engagement.
This has meant that reporting tools have developed from the basics such as referral codes and now are increasingly being used for awareness campaigns.
While the introduction of these tools has allowed brands to clarify genuine influencers there is still work that can be done to further quantify the success of using them more so in the long term. This will see the balance of the short-term spikes of interest given a true financial value.
Laws and regulations
Legal and regulatory systems are beginning to enter make strides in managing the influencer industry and whilst the steps so far have been small, for example adding #ad to an Instagram post is unlikely to have had a major effect in the long term.
What this does mean is that one of the pillars of influencer culture has begun to erode, authenticity. A simple element that many influencers particularly in the fashion and beauty industries played on to promote the products as their own opinion. The introduction of these regulations means that the authenticity has been reduced and paid ads are more clearly identified.
Will influencer marketing die?
I would say no.
But it will change significantly in the years to come. Increased measurement and a greater focus on ROI will see influencer marketing adapt. This might only be seen when we look back retrospectively on how far this single aspect has moved on in the next five or ten years.
One thing can be guaranteed. As long as there are brand advocates there will be people who will try to benefit on all sides of the customer/company relationship.