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Why Influence Not Advertising is the Future for Brands

If it’s reach, targeting, engagement, and ROI you need, don’t think advertising – think influencer marketing. With consumer trust in advertising waning, and privacy regulations, and third-party cookie deprivation impacting the future of targeting and measurement, this emerging channel is set to become a cornerstone of growth for brands in the Nordics.  

And if your perception of influencer marketing is of a narrow niche channel for building awareness, the reality is very different. Today it’s a growing medium, driving sales and on course to be worth $15bn by 2022.

Humanising marketing 

As advertising becomes synonymous with intrusive and shady practices, trust in it is plummeting. And it’s not surprising that the antidote to an advertising approach in decline is one offering a more human approach to marketing.

By adopting influencer marketing, brands can tap into trustworthy, authentic, and reliable voices that speak to engaged audiences – something that’s becoming more important. Companies seeking to reach younger consumers will increasingly need to turn to influencers as this group is more likely to seek out opinion leaders when looking for product purchase advice. Indeed, 60% of consumers now consult vlogs or social posts before buying.

We’re also seeing the emergence of consumer activism, where a new range of factors is influencing people’s purchasing decisions. Cause-oriented ‘genuinfluencers’ who inspire change are having greater resonance with consumers, helping them gravitate to brands with values that reflect their own. Research from Wunderman Thompson Data highlights 73% of US Gen Z are looking for brands that understand them. As consumers seek out companies they can relate to, influencers play an increasing role in helping them achieve this. To ensure they connect with consumers aligned to their ethos, brands must engage with influencers who fit their values and deliver a relevant audience. 

Social media platforms are becoming e-commerce platforms 

Changing shopping habits are also creating an environment for influencer marketing to thrive. 

Increasingly social media platforms are moving into the e-commerce space. Reaching an active global population of 4.2 billion, platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are transforming shopping habits, with Alter Agent’s Shopper Influence Research programme finding 77% of millennials and Gen Z shop on social platforms.

In offering creators new monetisation tools, the social networks are attracting more influencer marketing budgets as brands look to extend their channel strategies by working with influencers who can give them access to new audiences. 

Changes in measurement are also making influencer marketing increasingly relevant. One traditional area of concern for brands was that while influencers were paid a lump sum, campaign success was not tied to specific outcomes. Instead, vanity metrics like reach, comments, shares, likes, or pins – which offer little value – were proxy for success. 

Today, brands can take a more intelligent approach to measurement by aligning influencer marketing campaigns with their revenue KPIs and focusing on outcome-based metrics. Influencers can be paid on the value they deliver, allowing brands to understand each influencer’s contribution to their business. 

Taking the long view 

Influencer marketing also offers the opportunity to build engagement over the long term. While today’s advertising focuses on delivering short-term sales rather than building long-term brand value, this undermines confidence in advertising. Working with influencers, however, is about building partnerships and long-term collaborations. It’s this long-term commitment that is essential for developing trust and authenticity – between the brand and the influencer and the brand and the consumer – which makes influencer marketing so valuable. 

And the results speak for themselves. The unique nature of influencer marketing and the personal, trustworthy, interactive relationship influencers have with their followers means it delivers 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising. 

At a time when traditional advertising approaches are failing, success is coming down to that most fundamental of business approaches – partnerships. Long-term relationships with influencers now offer brands what they crave – improved brand awareness, engaged audiences, and the ability to build trust and drive sales. Brands across the Nordics need to reassess their current marketing approaches. Influencer marketing offers future success because it is based on trust, endorsement, and authenticity, which are critical in the context of today’s world.

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