For the past few years, those of us in marketing have heard, read and probably talked about influencer marketing. What was one time an inexpensive way to promote new products, has blossomed into a full-on industry. There are influencers for everything from clothing and video games to home décor. Some of them aren’t even real.
The appeal of influencers to Gen Z and Millenials is that they’re authentic. They share the same interests, tastes and likely views. Chances are you follow an influencer or two, and not because you want to see what product they’re going to talk about next (although that is the appeal of some influencers). Instead, you probably follow them because you like their designs, sport or aesthetic.
But as influencer marketing has become a behemoth, is it now on its way out?
A quick Google search will turn up numerous results telling us that influencer marketing has peaked.
In fact, according to a recent study analytics firm InfluencerDB, the average engagement rate for sponsored influencer posts in Q1 of 2019 fell to 2.4% from 4% in just three years. In that same timeframe, the rate for non-sponsored posts slid to 1.9% from 4.5%.
Of course, everyone has their theory as to why this decrease in engagement is happening, but the most firm belief is that feeds have become cluttered with an endless stream of sponsored posts.
But is this really the beginning of the end for influencers? It’s hard to say.
There could be a number of factors to these claims that I don’t think are being addressed, including an increase in bots on Instagram. Also, there are a number of people working very hard to become an influencer. Are their low engagement rates bringing down the average engagement rates of veteran influencers?
Another thing to keep in mind with engagement rates is that not everyone engages with every post. Look no further to digital ads – how many times have you seen a digital ad, didn’t engage with it, but still absorbed the product or event that it was for? Recently, Dior saw searches for their Saddle bag jump 957% 48 hours after launching an influencer marketing campaign, and Instagram accounts dedicated to spotting clothing items from Réalisation Par and Zara are booming.
Obviously, there is has been an increase to feeds being littered with sponsored content, which is why I personally think that the influencers who remain authentic and don’t try to sling products from every brand who approaches them will continue to see success. After all, it’s their authenticity that brought them followers in the first place.
So is influencer marketing right for you? That also depends. What’s the goal of your campaign, and how much money are you willing to fork out? Because influencers are getting more and more expensive. Regardless influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.