Influencer reviewing clothes

Our latest global study has revealed that the proportion of marketing budget being set aside for influencer marketing campaigns has nearly doubled over the past two years to reach 40% in 2019, up from 24% in 2017.

The 2019 study – to be released as a full report in the coming weeks – unveiled that marketers in the UK are now allocating more than £800,000 per year for influencer campaigns. However, this budget is being invested in more sophisticated ways than ever before.

The original study, conducted in July 2017, found that UK marketers working on influencer programmes were happy to pay Facebook celebrity influencers up to and in excess of £75,000 for a single post mentioning their brand. You can find more details on the original study in our 2017 influencer marketing press release.

The rise of the micro-influencer

Although overall budget allocation has increased, the price marketers are willing to pay for a single celebrity Facebook post in 2019 has decreased by almost £50,000 to £25,000 per post. This brings the amount marketers are willing to pay celebrity and micro-influencers (those with 10,000 or fewer followers) to parity (£26,000 for micro-influencer post).

This shift helps demonstrate the changing attitudes towards the power of strong relationships between relevant brands and micro-influencers with fewer but more engaged followers. Anthony Capano, Managing Director EMEA at Rakuten Marketing, says:

“Knowing that consumers are going to influencers for trusted recommendations on new products may explain the shift from celebrity to micro-influencers. Micro-influencers tend to be typically more engaged, as are their audience who feel like their friends. New tools exist that let brands and marketers measure influencer marketing’s impact. It is now a good opportunity to take advantage of to enable stronger relationships with the most brand-relevant influencers for their businesses rather than simply going for the largest influencers, who may not bring back the same return on investment.”

Influencers driving purchases as well as brand discovery

Typically, influencer marketing campaigns are associated with building brand awareness. And while this is no doubt an area that influencers can impact positively, our study also revealed that influencers drive direct purchases.

By surveying 3,500 consumers in the UK, US, Australia, France and Germany, we uncovered that four in five consumers across the globe have purchased something recommended by an influencer they follow by clicking on a link or image they have shared.

Influencer marketing measurement is improving – but there’s still a way to go

The growing capabilities of influencers to drive purchases – and the growing demand for more transparency in the industry – is causing marketers to change the way campaign performance is measured. In 2017, 38% of marketers were not able to tell whether a campaign drove sales. In 2019, this has dropped to 29%. Furthermore, the proportion of marketers tracking indirectly influenced sales has risen by 12% to 32%, indicating an uptick in attributed measurement across the entire user journey.

Although this is an improvement and a sign that the measurement of influencer marketing campaigns is getting more sophisticated, there is still a significant way to go. In the UK, 30% of marketers are still using last-click measurement.

Anthony Capano concludes: “Influencer marketing has continued to be an incredibly hot topic for marketers who are clearly putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to backing these campaigns. However, the issue of measurement still proves murky. Two years on, it is clear that marketers are making strides to ensuring they understand the real impact that influencer
programmes have on the purchase journey, before spending huge sums of money. However, there is still a gap between what they are measuring and their spend. If this industry continues to grow at the rapid pace it is now, decreasing that gap will be key.

Keep your eye out for further updates based on our influencer marketing research, including a full report outlining our findings.

If you’d like to find out more about running influencer campaigns with Rakuten Marketing, contact us today.