It's nearing the end of 2017 and the beginning of a new year! This year we saw influencer marketing thrive, shifting from a "trend" to a marketing necessity. It was the year digital ad spending finally overtook TV ad spending, reaching £156 billion worldwide, representing 41% of the market. Keeping in mind the larger TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, we can't begin to imagine how much influencer marketing will evolve in 2018. But to stay ahead of the game, here are some of our biggest 2018 trend predictions, and what they mean for you.
Influencer Marketing Continues To Rapidly Rise
There has been no shortage of 2017 influencer marketing success stories. In 2017 interest around the topic doubled, and searches for “Instagram influencer” have more than tripled. So it’s no surprise that in 2018, marketers will be increasing their influencer marketing budgets, and businesses who have yet to implement it in their marketing strategy, will realise what they’ve been missing out on, and will want in.
What this means for you: As there’ll be a higher demand for social media personalities, you’re going to be busier than ever, and the value of your services will increase.
Brands will be looking to work with influencers who have already established their style, have set their standards, are clear about what they’re all about, and know which brands would be a good fit for them. Collaborations with brands will be formed based on fit and mutual benefits with them and your followers.
Influencers Will Play A Larger Role Throughout The Customer Journey
Micro-influencers shone in 2017 and their persuasive power over their 'humble' followings was well documented. In 2018 we’re predicting that marketing strategies will incorporate celebrities, macro-influencers and micro-influencers; combining all types of influence whilst merging their power for awareness, authority and persuasion to achieve their marketing goals. Marketers will also combine traditional strategies such as referral and advocacy programs with influencer marketing, in an attempt to strengthen the emotional connection between the brand and target audience, within the consumer journey.
What this means for you: As brands will be focusing on merging influence to maximise their potential results, you will be involved in various steps throughout the consumers’ journey, focussing your efforts on a variety of relevant content, channels and strategies.
Disclosure Will Become A Must
There was a huge fuss surrounding disclosing sponsored posts in 2016, with brands and influencers failing to demonstrate proper transparency with their sponsored social media content. And as predicted, 2017 was the year the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) started calling out brands and influencers whose sponsored posts weren’t disclosed. We even saw Instagram, implement a “paid partnership” tool allowing influencers to easily tag the brand they have worked with, in their aim to improve transparency and making sponsored content more authentic.
As disclosing posts becomes a lot less effortful, in 2018 we can expect to see the FTC and CAP taking no mercy. We’ll see lawsuits against both companies and social media personalities, if the figure of 93% of paid endorsements which still remain undisclosed does not improve.
What this means for you: If you plan to keep your brand name out of negative news, it’s crucial that you comply with the regulations and disclose any sponsored posts. Be aware and keep up to date with the guidelines.
The Year Of Instagram Stories
The feature release of Instagram stories took the world of social media by storm this year, taking Snapchat’s crown. As Instagram stories began to receive 15% higher engagement rate than traditional Instagram posts, top influencers, also started posting twice as much on Instagram stories than Snapchat stories. Demonstrating how quickly platforms evolve, and users switch their habits.
Going one step further, a few weeks ago Instagram released “Stories Highlights”, allowing Instagram users to pin an unlimited number of selected photos and videos to the top of their profiles, rather than disappearing after 24 hours. In 2018 this feature will prevail and give influencers followers more chances to view branded stories, further increasing follower engagement rates and generating more interest in the sponsored products and brands. Helping build longer-term collaboration opportunities between brands and Instagram creators.
What this means for you: Making the most of Instagram stories by generating creative and engaging content will become a must. Longer lasting stories would mean it’s even more important to give more thought into the brands you choose collaborate with. Align yourself with reputable brands with which you share a mutual interests and will be of interest to your audience.
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