Influencers are enjoying more sponsored partnership opportunities than they did a year ago, according to a study in March from Activate.

In addition, 62% of marketers are set to growth their influencer marketing budgets this year as the channel continues to strive as an avenue for advertising and marketing performance.

The study, however, found that influencers work with brands in different ways with 49% organically posting about brands before engaging in any form of paid sponsorship with them.

38% said they are provided with comprehensive brand guidelines to adhere to while 36.7% work on branded campaigns to raise awareness.

29.6% are often asked for an opinion by brands on content for campaigns whereas only 21.6% worked on branded campaigns if they lead to a sales conversion.

“Influencers are people, not ads,” said eMarketer’s principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “They know their audience really well, and not allowing them to bring that knowledge into a marketing partnership is a mistake.”

Transparency debate

While the study states that the majority of marketers are growing their influencer marketing budgets as well as influencers receiving opportunities, there continues to be a debate around the transparency of the ecosystem with Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed calling for “urgent action” to clean up the influencer marketing ecosystem.

“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact,” Weed said at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

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