A primer on influencer fatigue for brands and b2b2c.

Will we see the end of influencer marketing this year?

In this essay, I will present the latest industry research as featured in Forbes, ZD Net, and highlight macro trends for brands, consumers and the growing landscape of influencer marketing tools.

Influencer Marketing Tech Landscape

Over the past few months, I’ve conducted a series of qualitative interviews and read a number of quantitative studies to understand how the influencer marketing landscape is changing.

Influencer fatigue has become a common theme for brands, consumers and influencers. In many ways, the current model is broken, here’s why:

According to a recent study featured by Forbes, brands pay more than 10x what they would pay to reach the same number of people in a traditional or digital media buy.

According to a recent study by Sprout Social, 46% of marketers believe influencer marketing should be part of their marketing plan, however only 19% have budget for it.

In many cases, the pressure to launch an influencer campaign often means that campaigns have loose metrics. Influencer matching continues to be a huge challenge for marketers. No tool has been able to solve the matching problem.

Brands are spending up to $500 million a year on fraudulent followers.

Changes in follower count attributed to fake followers

From an influencer perspective, the pressure to grow your fan base leads has led to top celebrities and influencers paying for fake followers.

Patterns that indicate fake followers include batches of new followers created within a certain timeframe, many of these accounts will appear and disappear within a short period of time.

While nine of out ten influencers say they must already like a brand to accept its sponsorship, 71% of influencers’ income is almost exclusively from sponsored content, versus more traditional ad streams like display ads, affiliate links and e-commerce. If you want to make money, you have to partner with big brands.

Bad matching = more brand control = fake posts. 80% of influencers say they are deterred to work with brands that control their content too much. Influencers want to create their own brand, not mirror someone else’s brand.

Fake posts = low engagement from consumers. The average engagement rate for an influencer post is around 4%. This means 40 likes, comments or clicks for every 1,000 impressions.

In many cases, brands are reducing paid spend for influencer marketing and re-investing in owned channels such as customer support as a lever for user-generated content and reviews.

Consumers are almost twice as likely to consider a product recommended from a friend rather than an influencer. 61% say they’d be more likely to research a product or service recommended on social by a friend versus only 36% for influencers.

This essay is Part I in a series on influencer marketing and new channels for user acquisition. I would love to include additional research and data points from founders working in this space.

If you’re working on a project in the influencer marketing space, please DM me on Twitter: @briannekimmel 

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