How Will Influencer Marketing Continue to Evolve in 2018

The following is a guest contributed post from Alexander Boykov, CEO and Cofounder of Buzzweb.

More than five years ago, marketers widely believed that influencer marketing was a temporary channel for them and they should sharpen their focus on other channels to reach their target audiences. Instead, the advent of digital and OTT caused mediums such as print and television to fade from marketing spend while influencer marketing became one of the most impactful ways to reach consumers. As data and AI become more advanced, the marketing model is becoming increasingly more accurate and providing larger ROI for brands. So with 2017 coming to an end, how will influencer marketing continue to evolve in 2018?

The Rise of the Micro-Influencer

Next year, we’ll see an increase in brands using micro-influencers to target key audiences. In previous years, advertisers were chasing influencers with large number of followers but now they have come to understand that quality of engagements is more important in determining the most efficient influencers to collaborate with. It is truly the power of engaging content reaching the right folks that impacts the brand’s sale pipeline rather than the reach.

No more one-time brand stands–long-term relationships are key

We’ll also see brands signing more long-term influencer relationships as opposed to single posts. While single posts can be nice, they don’t give marketers the best bang for their buck. Messaging takes time and repetition to sink in. A one-time post from an influencer with a high reach might get you wide exposure in the short term but it won’t necessarily deliver you lasting results. Long-term relationships allow brands to push out messaging consistently. Equally, there will be a greater perception of authenticity when relationships feel like long-term interests.

Quality over Quantity

Social media users will be surprised by the percentage of sponsored content they consume once the new FCC regulations guiding clear labelling and disclaimers comes into effect. This won’t necessarily make influencer marketing less effective, but it will force advertisers to collaborate more closely with their content developers and influencers. By making sponsored posts more authentic and natural to the influencer’s usual posts, they will blend in and stay attractive to the audience even though they are labeled as ads. Thus we’ll begin to see content become increasingly more qualitative. Way to earn your media dollars, influencers!

Ballooning of Budgets

Speaking of media dollars, 2017 changes paved the way for even more money to flow from brand to the billion dollar influencer industry pockets. With Instagram recently announcing the expansion of its support to include strictly right-to-left languages, we’ll see budgets for influencer marketing continue to grow to address these newer social audiences. With new audiences to reach and Arabic being the fourth most spoken language in the world, brands should jump at the chance to get to them first.

Looking back just five years, many would be surprised at how far influencer marketing has come. But none of us should be surprised about where it’s going from here. The possibilities are endless for brands, particularly now as more advanced technology works with machine learning to make influencer selection easier and partnered with a stronger ROI. As budgets are being set for 2018, we’re all excited to see what the new year brings!