Eight Trends for Influencer Marketing in 2018

February 26, 2018

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2018 is well on its way and the Influencer Round Table at FleishmanHillard has put together some trends that we see will start to change the Influencer marketing landscape this year.

  1. More inter-company collaboration. Research shows that four or more departments engage with influencers to implement an influencer marketing program, forcing collaboration where there were limited connections before. Something to watch is how well brands that are working with influencers integrate their content across the brand’s IMC mix. If internal teams start working closely together on influencer marketing, how much can you increase the return on the content investment?
  2. Move beyond the single content creator. We are seeing influencers evolve into media sites, Scary Mommy, for example. The site evolves from being owned by one “person” to having multiple contributors, and the way to work with them is only on an IO/paid basis as opposed to sponsoring the “person.”
  3. Paid is the only way to make it work. Fewer and fewer influencers with any stature will do posts for free. If you don’t pay, you have no control to ensure that the influencer follows FTC guidelines which could be costly for brands if fined. Paid support for all influencer posts should be part of your overall social strategy. As platform algorithms continue to change, boosting your influencers’ content will drive better results as organic content is de-prioritized.
  4. Celebrities and influencers are looking for long-term partnerships. Influencers are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to one-off campaigns. They are looking for long-term commitments. Influencers are interested in helping brands build toward a bigger pay-off because it keeps their audiences engaged as well, as opposed to a one-, or even three-, time use. As we see audiences in general lean toward “long-term, short-burst” content consumption, influencers will likely want to create this type of content.
  5. Saving Instagram for self. For celebrities, Instagram is becoming a no-play-zone. More and more, talent want Instagram to be their personal channel where they share things that happen in their life – not with brands. They are still open to using Instagram Stories for brand work, which is also where we are seeing some of the highest engagement with content.
  6. Focus on (real) followers. Fake followers are a hot topic right now. Agencies and brands are going to be much more cognizant of this in 2018 and it’s going to impact who brands work with. There will be an increasing focus on using new tools to identify fake followers this year. The emphasis for evaluation when choosing influencers will start to focus on having an active and engaged following vs the total number of followers.
  7. Proper benchmarking. Brands want to know what they are paying for. Projecting performance will drive influencer selection and could become the gatekeeper to getting approvals on contracting influencers.
  8. Consolidation of vendors in the next year. Some will go away and some will combine or be bought by other tools, such as when Little Bird was purchased by Sprinklr. We expect more of that in 2018.

Have any other trends you see for Influencer Marketing in 2018? Let us know on Twitter.