The Evolution of Influencer Marketing: Then vs Now

A lot of people may think that influencer marketing is a new form of marketing that popped out of nowhere.

Word-of-mouth recommendations from key opinion leaders (KOL) has been around since ages, just in different formats. In the present day, we marketers practice it through partnering with online influencers who have a strong following and social media presence to help promote products in a much more engaging and authentic way. What we now know of influencer marketing is different from how it was practiced before. Read on and we will show you its former and current state, its continuing emergence and how important it is for brands to leverage it now (before it’s too late!):

THE PAST

The term “influencer marketing” may not be known back then because social media has yet to be born, but the way of marketing is not that far from what we have right now. Since most brands don’t have enough means of appealing to consumers before, the idea of hiring celebrities became a choice (considered as a form of influencer marketing at that time). As the years go by, companies like Coca-cola and Foster Flakes decided to incorporate characters like Santa Claus and Tony The Tiger for their respective brandsmaking them become two of the most iconic characters in the world of marketing. Marketing campaigns were established by means of incorporating faces and personalities to brands that would build awareness and conversations between consumers, and the good news—the return on investment exceeded the expectations of businesses! These practices were eventually absorbed in our generation today and integrated into a whole new process through digital marketing.

THE PRESENT

With the birth of social media, it became easy for celebrities to create a world outside of their careers and for normal people to grow their voice at a much more complex and exciting platform. While it’s easy for celebrities to gain followers on social media, it’s also costly and results on ROI isn’t very evident. On the other side of the coin, other individuals who grew their follower base and became “social media influencers” may have less followers than celebrities but the effect they have to their audiences are strong to the point that they can generate more conversions than big celebrities. Influencer marketing now has leveled up as it is more focused on targeting and tracking specific consumers with the help of social media influencers who can initiate real-time interaction with their followers on their social media accounts. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, you name it! These are the platforms that are used by influencers to connect with their followers—either by making a video makeup tutorial, posting an online review about a restaurant, or a well-curated photo of a product from a brand, these will surely catch the interest of consumers!

According to a survey administered by Annalect and Twitter, 40% of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by a social media influencer they follow on social media—which makes a lot of sense why brands are tapping them to foster their products and services because aside from their firsthand access to people, they are also relatable and reliable at the same time. The rise of online influencers has truly created a world of never-ending possibilities, and it’s a world that shouldn’t be ignored.

Also Read: How to Get Consumers’ Attention in a 2018 Environment

THE FUTURE

Influencer marketing is cost-effectivemaking it a good strategy for marketers to invest. Current statistics show that influencers deliver 60% more engagement than celebrities with huge followingmaking them important marketing assets for businesses across the world. The next coming years is going to be interesting. We will be seeing more and more influencers who will benefit from brands and vice versa. There will be new trends and advanced tools that will emerge which will lead up to businesses launching more influencer marketing campaigns before the prices go up. There’s a lot of benefits in building relationships with advocates that could make a positive change to your brand. Embrace it because it looks like it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.