Article

Mark Bassett
Mark Bassett 18 December 2017

Influencer marketing spends to explode in 2018

2017 has brought some difficulties in advertising, with marketers having to deal with ad fraud, concerns around brand safety and increasing use of ad blocking. So, what’s an advertiser to do to get their brand message out to consumers in 2018?

Influencer marketing has been steadily growing over the past few years and for many brands, this channel has become one of the best options to reach targeted, interested audiences, without fear of being blocked or associated with inappropriate content.

With this surge of interest and established popularity in mind, here’s a quick look at a few influencer trends to look out for over the next 12 months.

Insta-fluencers

Instagram has over 800 million Instagram users and counting. Not only is the reach impressive, but with Instagram Stories, we have seen an average story click rate of 11% in our campaigns, the highest we’ve seen in online advertising. Influencers and creators love this platform thanks to the ease of execution and the ‘raw’ feeling of the stories that they can capture and share with their followers.

Brands will do well to hitch their wagons to these creators’ stories in 2018, as we’re confident that Instagram Stories will continue to dominate the space, leaving branded videos on YouTube and SnapChat in its dust.

Social: When east will meet west

In the past eight years, China has been incubating its own social channels, and Weibo, which was once a simple micro-blogging site, has evolved to encompass picture and video uploads, boasting half a billion users.

We’re already being asked by US and European clients about how they can access these platforms and their influencers, but we’re also seeing clients in Asia ask us how to access their western counterparts. We’ve been working with some of the biggest commerce sites in China to raise their awareness in the US and Europe, and a key strategy has been to encourage western influencers to upload content to Weibo. The relevance to global advertisers and influencers? The biggest star of Weibo commands 90 million followers – these are just Chinese followers, not global, so western influencers can expect an exponential explosion in followers if they can correctly pitch their content.

To loot or not to loot

For many YouTubers, creating content around in-game loot crates (virtual grab bags received in exchange for real or in-game money) is just as much part of the gaming ecosystem as creating custom characters in a fantasy world. But the concept of loot crates or boxes has recently stirred up controversy around its potential to be seen as an act of gambling. Questions have been raised as to whether loot crates incite young gamers to gamble, and those YouTubers that promote these in-game actions, are being put at the centre of the debate perceived to be encouraging this gameplay.

While the Belgium Gaming Commission has now deemed in-game loot crates an act of gambling, the British Gambling Association (BGA) is remaining impartial but vigilant stating “the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred.” We suspect that the BGA will bow to parental pressure in 2018, and declare loot boxes a form of gambling, which means influencers will need to remove their ‘unboxing’ videos for under 18s, or add a gambling warning.

The year ahead holds vast opportunities for influencers as well as brands looking to build relationships with these entities. Due to its infancy, the influencer industry has yet to iron out some issues and implement industry standards, but the opportunities for true audience engagement and significant revenue generation lie well within brands’ reach.

 

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