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The Rise of Digital Influencers

By way of the ever-shifting digital world, brand marketing has evolved to adapt— from spending 

on advertisements in magazines and newspapers to exploring the depths of the internet. The remarkable rise of social media influencers is not one to underestimate. 

With multitudes consuming content in an instantaneous fashion, brands have found a successful way to widen audience reach while keeping engagement and increasing ROI: digital influencers. According to SocialMediaToday, influencer marketing not only delivers ROI 11 times higher than traditional forms of marketing but also 58% of brands have improved brand awareness. By reaching to multiple influencers, content output soars drastically—and widening your audience is only the beginning of the list of benefits.

A study conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub states that 84% of marketers judge influencer marketing to be effective; as we enter the fiscal year for 2020, we see that brands are investing more of their budget towards influencers rather than print advertising. This comes at an interesting time— where social and digital media start to become the forefront for marketing and print starts to fall back. This spending, projected at 40% growth over the next five years, is nothing short of calculated. The reallocated budget is specifically targeted towards different groups of influencers: mega, macro, micro, or nano.

These categories are primarily based on their audience reach. Mega-influencers are often more famous individuals than influential and have a minimum of a million followers. Though providing a lot of reach within one hit to a broad and diverse audience, the relationship between a mega-influencer and their followers are slightly disconnected. They come at a high cost— according to Hopper HQ, celebrity Kylie Jenner reportedly charges $1.2 million per post. Most brand campaigns that leverage a mega-influencer usually appeal to the masses, sparing the need to be specific. The purpose, here, is mainly just for quick, high amounts of exposure. 

Macro-influencers are those with a comparatively smaller following, from numbers around 100,000 to a million. Though most often labeled by “internet famous”— the advantage is the accessibility of these individuals. And though they have high engagement because of their broad audience, their price tag can be on the higher end of a marketing budget.

Micro-influencers are those who have an engagement between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They are most often regarded as industry experts; their audience is niche, their content is specific, and their reach is driven mainly from strong relationships they’ve cultivated with each post. Many brands seek out these influencers because the benefits outweigh the cost. Due to the more friendly and less distanced relationships micro-influencers have with their followers, almost always their posts guarantee targeted audience reach and boosted ROI.

Nano-influencers are also elevating in popularity. These influencers often have less than 1,000 followers but offer a different perspective on marketing. According to a study by Stackla, consumers are 9.8 times more likely to make a purchasing decision after seeing a post by a peer rather than an influencer. Thus begins the conversation of consumers emphasizing the need for organic, authentic material rather than brand content. Brands who want to leverage nano-influencers to the best of their ability need to make sure to incorporate user-generated content and include “everyday, real” people who use the product/service and are satisfied by it on their own accord. 

People turning to social media before making a purchase has become the norm. Finding it easier to find authentic, organic positive or negative opinions on brands, knowing how to properly navigate through to successfully campaign to consumers is key. Influencers are valuable and vital in assisting to this success.

The marketplace for social media influencers is expected to be worth $15 billion by 2022. We’ve only just begun exploring how brands can fully utilize this industry in ways that are effective and error-free. Of course, many aspects of the rise of digital influencers have yet to fully strategized yet one thing seems perfectly clear: the mutually beneficial relationship between brands and influencers shows no signs of stopping. 

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