New global research from Rakuten Marketing reveals that the allocation of marketers’ budgets for influencer marketing has doubled over the last two years, reaching 40% in 2019. In the UK, marketers working for consumer-facing fashion, cosmetics and travel brands are now setting aside in excess of £800,000 per year (40% globally) for influencer campaigns, compared to just 24% of their budgets back in 2017. Two years ago, marketers were more likely to spend up to £75,000 on a single Facebook post from a celebrity influencer mentioning their brand, however, this figure has fallen to just £25,000 per post in 2019. It seems that marketers are investing in advocacy of micro-influencers as opposed to high-tier celebrity influencers, as the study finds they would pay nearly £26,000 for a marketing campaign from a micro-influencer. The change in spend is due to the shift in consumer purchase and shopping habits and campaign measurement metrics.

Spending and shopping habits

Influencers enable brand discovery and purchases, as 49% of global customers use influencer marketing to learn about new brands and products. Evidence shows that influencers are driving direct purchases for brands they collaborate with, with four in five consumers across the globe have now purchased something recommended by an influencer they follow by clicking on a link or image they shared.“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,” said Anthony Capano, managing director EMEA at Rakuten Marketing.

Evolving measurement

Overall, the methods marketers are using to measure campaigns has changed since 2017, when 38% weren’t able to tell when a campaign drove sales, compared to 29% in 2019 – although, only three in ten ‘completely’ understood the measurement process behind this.

“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,” said Capano. “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,” continued Capano.

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