Influencer marketing is one of the hottest topics for retailers in 2018, and the conversation is sure to extend into 2019. It’s crucial to think about starting an influencer marketing program if you haven’t. And if you already have one, you need to think about how to make it better. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that without data to back up your decisions.
In the CPC Strategy 2018 U.S. Influencer Marketing Report, we asked 1,500 U.S. shoppers how they view and interact with influencers. Most importantly, we wanted to find out how much those influencers impacted purchase decisions. Here are some of the biggest takeaways for retailers and brands.
Invest in Micro Influencers
Only 19.2 percent of consumers in our report define influencers on social media as celebrities. Additionally, 30.5 percent of consumers value an influencer's trustworthiness over their number of social media followers.
Trustworthiness extends beyond just transparency about sponsors. Consumers care whether that influencer is authentic, posts quality content, and seems knowledgeable in their niche. You don’t always get that with a celebrity rep.
What does this mean for retailers?
It’s time to invest in a micro influencer strategy. Micro influencers may be celebrities within a niche space, but they’re not typically household names. Think Youtube beauty vloggers and product “unboxers."
Micro influencers are very connected with their viewers and followers, which means brands and retailers have a unique opportunity to tap into that pre-built trust.
Facebook and Instagram Dominate the Influencer Space
Yes, Youtube has a huge base of influencers and fans. However, when it comes to products, services and events, nearly 70 percent of consumers say they’re most likely to hear about it on Facebook first.
Considering that 22 percent of consumers reported they were most likely to purchase products (beauty products, clothing, electronics, etc.) from influencers, we’d say that Facebook and Instagram are great options for most brands and retailers seeking to start an influencer strategy.
Nearly 40% of Consumers Can’t Tell if a Social Media Post is Sponsored
This may seem like an opportunity for brands to take advantage of consumers, and may actually point to a bigger issue in the industry that should be addressed. However, the flip side of this statistic is that roughly 60 percent of consumers can tell if a social media post is sponsored — and it doesn’t always impact them negatively.
We asked, “When you know someone who is being paid to promote a product, are you less likely to trust their recommendation?”
The answer was pretty clear: 44 percent of consumers point to their pre-existing trust in an influencer. If the trust isn’t there, they likely won’t buy it.
The Bottom Line for Retailers and Brands
It may seem like a big investment, but when influencer marketing works, it really works.
Forget chasing after the biggest names on Youtube or Instagram to rep your brand. Instead, focus on seeking out the trusted micro influencers that will get you “in” with people who will actually care about your products.
This might mean you have to take more time to find a handful of micro influencers with smaller audiences related to your products, but you’re most likely to be rewarded with a passionate set of new fans. And that’s a lot more rewarding long term than a couple short-lived celebrity spots.
Leanna Kelly is a growth marketing manager at CPC Strategy, a performance marketing agency.
Related story: Is Facebook Worth it for Retailers?