Opinion

Are Influencers Influential in Driving Video’s Growth?

Influencers will play an important role for brands looking to stand out in the video space for a variety of reasons.

As video advertising continues to grow, influencers will play an increasingly important role for brands looking to stand out in the video space. The growth potential of influencer video is so significant, it could be influencers that drive video’s growth and not the other way around. 

Nearly two-thirds of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing spend this year. Marketers rank Instagram posts as the most effective influencer marketing content format, followed by Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, and Instagram video. Sponsored posts aren’t going anywhere, but video formats will take off for a variety of reasons. 

Social media is fueling video’s growth

A study by digital marketing agency WebpageFX found that this year, video will account for 80% of the online content people consume. It is no surprise, then, that video advertising dollars projected to hit $36 billion this year — are following the path audiences are forging.

Over 2 billion people worldwide are projected to use a mobile phone to watch a digital video in 2019, according to eMarketer and social media is a driving factor behind this trend. In fact, a recent report found that nearly three out of five millennials watch more video ads on social media than on television.

But here’s the thing — if brands want consumers to find and connect with their content, they need quality material. This is especially important in light of Facebook’s recent updates to its video ranking, which prioritises original video over repurposed material and factor in engagement, intent, and repeat viewership metrics. User metrics are also a big factor in YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, which means content quality is key. 

Consumers follow influencers because they are influential

If brands are to use the video format to connect with their audiences, they are going to need help creating content. When you work with influencers, you get access to their creative minds — the very thing that has made them influencers in the first place. They understand how to create content that doesn’t feel like a commercial. They have mastered an authentic tone, and they excel at eliciting emotion. Their work feels different than a branded film piece from a production house, and audiences appreciate this.    

Companies can pay a creative agency or hire a production company to create content, but that is costly, time-consuming and will probably only result in one video a quarter, at best. Brands will need to fill in the gaps. Partnering with influencers is also efficient as they act as or hire their own production crew.

Advice for brands considering influencer video

In the early days of influencer marketing, it was hard to find enough influencers to meet brand demand for video. That is no longer the case. Influencers have identified social video as an opportunity, and a growing number are mastering the skill. This will be crucial to brands’ ability to produce video at scale. 

But that doesn’t mean influencer video is right for everyone. It is not a great fit if a brand is super prescriptive or afraid of letting go. It is also wise to start with a post before trying video so you can see how the process goes. If you move forward with video, request to see a storyboard first so you can agree to a creative concept before the influencer gets started. Videos are harder to edit than posts, so you want to be sure you are on the same page.

Some influencers are more open to collaborative processes than others. Premium influencers — well-known celebrities and talent with massive followings (and sometimes, their own product lines) — know their value and their voice. They have got to where they are because of their taste and creativity. They don’t want to compromise that, and as such, they are often not as open to brand feedback. 

But there is a growing movement in influencer marketing that puts brands at the forefront: micro-influencers. These influencers typically have smaller fanbases than premium influencers, but their audiences are often highly engaged. Not only are they more willing to collaborate with brands than premium influencers, but they are also more cost-effective, with some charging as little as a few hundred dollars to promote something as opposed to a million dollar price tag. Keep all of this in mind as you assess potential partners.

Lastly, be sure to create a distribution strategy. You will get more value from the content if you also share it on your owned channels and bolster it with a paid strategy, whether on social or connected TV (CTV). If this is your plan, be sure to negotiate your content usage rights accordingly — before the influencer starts shooting. With these best practices in mind, brands can get the most from their influencer video.

Are influencers the answer?

The overall growth of video advertising bodes well for influencer marketing, but without influencer video, brands could have a hard time creating enough of the quality content they need to connect with consumers on digital channels, including social platforms and CTV. It is not acceptable or effective to repurpose a TV commercial and call it a day. You need a video that fits the viewer’s context and format, and influencers could be the answer brands have been looking for to not only engage consumers but to help further drive the growth of video. 

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