Marketing Under the Influence

marketing under the influenceInfluencer marketing is growing and a new study shows that influencers are widespread throughout many retail sectors with Instagram leading as the most widely-used platform for brands to leverage influencer marketing.

According to a report released this week by research firm L2, 70% of brands across industries are working with influencers through Instagram partnerships.

Within the retail industry, the popularity of influencers varies by sector. Leading the industry are luxury brands, according to the study, 91% of whom reported using Instagram influencers. Activewear (84%) and beauty brands are also using Instagram influencers, followed by consumer electronics brands (61%), food and beverage (45%), personal care (38%), and home care (16%).

Influencer ROI is High

As brands look to influencers, they are seeing that it’s not those with the largest followings that yield the most influence. Instead, the L2 study found advocate influencers drive the strongest relationships with shoppers, with an 8% rate of engagement. Micro-influencers drive a 4% rate of engagement, while celebrities have only a 1.6% engagement rate.

Retailers are looking for ways to market to a social-driven market and putting influencers at the core of their marketing strategy. There’s an average of $7.65 return on each dollar spent, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. That ROI makes it clear why brands want to capitalize on this relatively new marketing approach. Last week we wrote about additional methods for brands and influencers to monetize beyond just leveraging sponsored posts.

A Q1 2017 report from Influencer Marketing Hub shows influencer marketing topping the list of the fastest growing customer acquisition methods at 28%. Organic search comes in at 15%, while email (13%) and paid search (11%) rank second and third, respectively.

Additionally, the  L2 report says that data shows influencer accounts racked up much more engagement than the brands own accounts. When images are used in content engagement increased. Influencers increased the engagement on image content posts by 17% compared to non-influencer posts, says the report.

Interestingly, a whopping 90% of brands say they don’t feature influencer content on their own accounts. If they were to do that, the report notes that the brand could  “greatly broaden the reach of influencer content with virtually no additional effort.”

Last year, says the report, micro-influencers (those with around 10,000 followers) were incredibly popular among consumers. Research from Keller Fay revealing that 82% of consumers surveyed would follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation.

Mobile and Social Drive Conversions

The L2 study report says the biggest bang for the influencer buck is using celebrities for product launches. Micro-influencers drive brand awareness and engagement with new consumers.

Meanwhile, social media drives purchases from younger consumers. Much of this is done via mobile. Generation Z (those younger than millennials) are heavily influenced by mobile platforms, says the L2 report. Gen Z converts twice as much on mobile as any other generation. And 80% of Gen Z and 74% of millennials are influenced by social media while shopping. Still, Instragram is popular with all generations. Overall, 72% of Instagram users report making purchase decisions based on something that they saw on the site.

There’s little doubt that influencer marketing, when done right can be a boon to brands. It can help acquire new customers, yield significant ROI, increase brand awareness, and convert at successful levels.