Influencer marketing is a form of sponsorship and word of mouth advertising in which individuals, often who are revered as an expert or leader in a specific industry or category, promote products to their social media followers, fans, friends and families. Over the past year, influencer marketing has had a lot of negative publicity due to previously lax regulations and FTC crackdowns, however when used strategically, influencer marketing can be a very effective tactic for brands.

Influencer marketing allows for brands to get the feel of a spokesperson without paying for a spokesperson or committing to a long term partnership with someone, who potentially could come with future scandal. In addition to the large reach gained from influencer campaigns, they also can add a level of authenticity and credibility to products. Often celebrities and other influencers involved in campaigns only opt to partake because they believe in the product. Their fans and followers believe and trust in their opinions and buy the products they use. In addition to large campaigns with A-list celebrities, there are also opportunities for utilizing influencer marketing to hit more niche categories. For instance, if you are looking to promote a new car part to mechanics, you can look to partner with some of the most popular mechanics and TV personalities in the industry.0

Despite the FTC crackdowns, influencer media has been seeing some positive trends In 2018, 70% of US agencies anticipate increasing their influencer budgets, and 18.6% of them plan on spending at least $100k per influencer program. In addition to increased spends, more than half of brands think that influencer programs are “vital” to their social media efforts. Of agencies and brands surveyed, 89% felt that Influencer marketing can positively impact how people feel about a brand, however 71% felt that it is difficult to find the perfect influencers, and 41% felt that influencer fraud concerns are holding back the growth in the tactic.

The number one trends for influencer marketing moving into 2018 is definitively complying with FTC regulations, however that is not deterring advertisers and overall growth in the tactic is expected to continue as social media continues to be extremely important to consumers lives.