2019 was a difficult year for influencer marketing. It started with the release of "The Greatest Party That Never Happened" from Netflix, which documented how the organizers of Fyre Festival used influencers to mislead consumers. three well-known British influencers unknowingly promoting a diet drink peppered with cyanide.
With the specter of Fyre Festival above the industry and warnings from the ASA about ad labeling, 2019 saw more attention to influencer marketing than ever before. But we are now in a new year and there is still enough to be optimistic about; 86% of British / American marketers rely on influencers, expenditure in the sector has grown with 83% and long-term partnerships between brands and influencers become the norm.
In this spirit, the influencer marketing sector must commit itself to three good intentions for the new year in order to improve the transparency of the sector and to remove all continuing concerns.
For both brands and influencers to respect the ASA regulations and share responsibility for compliance
Despite governing bodies giving more warnings about incorrectly labeled social media content, it seems that some brands are putting pressure on influencers to omit advertising labels that reveal brand partnerships – presumably to make annotations feel more "organic".
Shocking, ours recent white paper Research has shown that 62% of influencers from the UK, the US and Germany are under pressure from brands to violate the ASA guidelines at least once. Fortunately, 28% of this group say this is a rare opportunity.
But for consumers, who are becoming smarter when it comes to influencer marketing, this will not work. Consumers understand how paid partnerships work and expect brands and influencers to be transparent about commercial content. If ads are not correctly labeled, there is more confusion and consumers can doubt the reliability of the brand and the influencer.
Brands that give influencers the creative control they need to succeed
Finding the right balance between creativity and control is a challenge for the influencer marketing sector.
Creative control is the biggest concern for influencers when working with brands – 83% of the UK influencers consider it their most important priority.
However, it is just as appreciated by marketers who want to protect the identity of their brand. In particular, one in five marketers (22%) want to influence the visual element of the influencer's post.
Although the desire of marketers to manage influencer marketing content can come from a good place, this can hamper the effectiveness of the post. After all, influencers are most attuned to their audience and can deliver the most authentic content that resonates best with them.
By giving influencers more control, they can fully explore their creativity, portray the brand in a style that fits their profile and audience and strengthen the authenticity of the collaboration.
This is something that can be determined in the context of a marketing campaign for influencer. If brands avoid writing their prescription and strangle creativity with numerous clauses, they can increase the impact of the campaign.
Basically, it means brands must brief better and be brave enough to entrust influencers to determine their own content.
Vanity statistics left in 2019
Social media platforms started with what is now known as "vanity metrics," which led marketers to measure success by the number of followers of an influencer or the number of likes per post, but this is changing.
In November, Instagram announced that it would do tests to hide global likes. If – as expected – this test becomes permanent, marketers will have to investigate metrics that show deeper involvement and prioritize creativity.
Two alternative KPIs that have been raised are the number of times a message has been saved and the number of direct messages that an influencer receives. Both options encourage marketers to make their content as creative, sharable and engaging as possible to attract the attention of users.
In addition to generating more creative thinking, hiding likes on messages is a big step towards reducing the potential negative effects of social media on mental health. Removing equal numbers gives users more room to get in touch with friends and family, as well as accounts that really interest and inspire them, instead of simply finding the most popular or keeping pace with others. If the permanent hiding of likes on Instagram stimulates creative thinking and promotes improved mental health, who will complain?
If 2019 was a stress test for the influencer marketing sector while it scaled up its reputation and managed its reputation, then 2020 is a year for adulthood. Everyone involved in the industry has a huge opportunity to dispel negative perceptions and take the necessary steps to make influencer marketing more transparent, more balanced and more reliable. If the sector can keep to these good intentions, it can find the answers needed to create a huge positive outlook for marketers, consumers and influencers in 2020.
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