Gartner L2 recently reported that 70% of brands across industries worked with influencers on Instagram in 2017. Influencer marketing is projected to become a $5 to $10 billion market in the next 5 years.
These reports came before the Facebook algorithm change and the impending GDPR deadline threw many marketers’ social plans into disarray, which suggest even more brand investment with influencers as a way to engage audiences.
And yet the explosion in influencers is creating what one PR firm calls an “authenticity crisis”. Splendid Communications reported the results of a UK survey that 43% think influencers are “often inauthentic” and work with brands “they don’t believe in.” A further 52% assume that if an influencer promotes a product, they have been paid to do so, even if they haven’t. 61% admit to unfollowing an influencer who worked with “inappropriate” brands or who “endorsed too many products.”
Only 5% of this survey said that influencers are “genuine” and “only promote brands and products they truly believe in.”
I’ve been trying (without success) to find a chart I saw presented at a conference a few months ago. It ranked average numbers of brand partnerships per influencer per month. My memory may be off, but I recall the higher end was something like 35 different brand endorsements in a month, so more than one per day. I’d love to see the source if anyone has that.
The authenticity crisis is one reason there’s a shift from one-off celebrity endorsements to micro-influencers involving longer, deeper campaigns.
But as the marketing world invests even further in influencers of all stripes, I think it will be a challenge to overcome the inevitable influencer fatigue that comes with oversaturation.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Social Media Stars” December 2014
“Facebook News Feed” January 2018
“Influencer Marketing” March 2018