Influencers have become the heart of the brand-consumer relationship

Influencers have become the heart of the brand-consumer relationship

Impact.compartnership management platform, in partnership with WARC, an international marketing intelligence company, announced report on the rapidly evolving dynamics of brand influence, showing the disparity and alignment of marketer and influencer perceptions, and offering guidance on how better alignment can lead to more effective and valuable partnerships.

report, Aligning Marketing and Influencers: Shifting Views on Influencer Marketing Across the Funnel, reveals the perceptions of influencers and marketers regarding influencer marketing, especially given the rapid growth of the influencer market following the wave of investment and innovation following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, based on responses to a global survey of more than 400 marketers and 400 influencers across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, found that 75% of marketers use influencers for brand awareness and 73% for brand engagement. From an influencer perspective, 58% say their main reason for working with marketers is to create authentic content, especially in a world where consumers are increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising.

The value of authenticity cannot be ignored. According to the research, 85% of influencers and 67% of marketers ranked a high level of trust and authenticity as the first and second (respectively) most significant strength of influencer marketing, which creates stronger partnerships over time.

The report reveals key considerations for those seeking genuine, effective partnerships with influencers who are now at the heart of the brand-consumer relationship due to their impact on engagement and consumer relationships. Those considerations include establishing a broad understanding of influencer marketing across functional teams, engaging with creators over extended periods of time to achieve the best results, and working with influencer marketing experts, such as technology platforms and agency-managed services, to ensure the best reach and results.

“Consumers are engaging with social channels like YouTube and TikTok more than ever before, and we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future. At the same time, consumers have become distrustful of traditional marketing and advertising channels and annoyed,” said CEO David A. Yovanno. “Together, these factors have helped create a significant consumer population that looks to influencers to guide their purchasing decisions, with the appetite for influencer commerce content continuing to grow. This has created a shift in the power dynamic of brand influence – for many brands, building partnerships with influencers is now a critical way to reach their target audience.”

Key takeaways marketers and influencers share for those looking to create (or expand) an influencer strategy include:

  • The way brands can best reach their target audience is changing. Younger audiences tend to favor visual experiences, such as those on Instagram and TikTok, and prefer smaller content creators over celebrities and mega-influencers. These meaningful interactions drive the credibility and authenticity that audiences crave while helping influencers build relationships over time. Knowing how and where to connect with your target audience is key to a successful influencer marketing program.
  • Creating a clear, mutually beneficial partnership must be a priority. Today’s creators want more control over the content they create for brands. They expect the relationship to function as a partnership rather than a simple fee structure. It will be critical for marketers to balance brand demands with creators’ demands for more freedom and control over the content they produce. In fact, according to 50% of surveyed influencers, achieving this balance is the second most significant challenge they face. At the same time, compensation is a vital part of the equation – marketers need to focus on incentivizing influencers around important metrics to help align both partners and drive improved relationship results.
  • Establishing valuable long-term relationships with creators is key. As influencers become more and more important to the brand-consumer relationship, it is important to stay focused on creating long-term relationships that lead to increased conversions over time. Although marketers tend to use influencer marketing for shorter, more awareness-driven campaigns, results can improve the longer a brand works with an influencer. A key example of this is in the beauty and fashion industry, where advertisers have proven that long-term influencer marketing collaborations yield better results. And among long-term influencer marketers, 73% rank trust and authenticity as influencer marketing’s biggest strengths—six percentage points higher than other marketers.
  • The criteria for selecting influencers have also changed. While macro influencers can boast their followers in million, nano and micro influencers with less than 1,000 followers can be the key to unlocking a successful influencer strategy, according to respondents. Not only do they bring added authenticity – they have highly active communities of followers, resulting in greater engagement and their potential to influence product purchase decisions.

Are you interested in the world’s leading brands personally discussing such topics? Learn more about World Digital Marketing Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Tags: brands, consumers, influencers

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