Samantha Wormser is a featured contributor to Influencer Marketing: Where the Tactic is Headed and Trends to Support It report.
Here's the complete contribution:
Over the next 3-5 years influencer marketing will evolve from a brand awareness play to direct response. Just like PR has shifted from traditional print placements to a digital focus, influencer marketing will follow suit as brands want to know the impact influencer marketing is making on their bottom line, not just in terms of brand awareness and potential customers.
In order to evolve to direct response, I envision more linking opportunities outside of just Instagram stories where influencers can link to external sites becoming available. Having influencers incorporate links on social media gives valuable metrics to the brand viewable in Google Analytics including number of new sessions driven to the website, behavioral metrics like time on site and pages per visit, as well as sales metrics like number of transactions and the dollar amount of those transactions. Ultimately, brands will be able to more directly evaluate the ROI from influencers through these links.
Also, as micro-influencers are the hottest trend of 2017 and will continue into 2018, this emphasis on smaller influencers who charge less but have a highly-engaged audience will be the most important factor moving forward. Engagement metrics are already critical in 2017 but will become more of an indicator of influence in the next few years than strictly follower count and purchasing followers will no longer win brand partnerships.
Finally, brands are going to have the direct insight into how influencer posts are truly performing without having to ask for metrics. Now that Instagram has a “Partnership” option between brands and influencers that shows the brand insights beyond just likes and comments, I think within the next few years all brand partnerships will have to be disclosed in this way and brands are going to require influencer partnerships to include this in order to have full visibility into the value of the partnership. As FTC regulations become more strict with disclosures and what must be conveyed to influencers’ followers, the Partnership option serves this disclosure requirement in a direct way that doesn’t leave any room for interpretation.
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