This week we’ve set up camp in The Martinez Beach Club front down at Cannes Lions 2019 to soak up all last week’s action. We spoke to industry leaders throughout the week in a live #CannesHangover podcast to see what this year’s festival has to say about the influencer marketing industry. We spoke with Getty Images, COPA90, LinkedIn and more, to see how they are using influencers in the coming year.

Advocates and content creators

It’s become clear that brands need to focus on using content creators who are already talking about their desired industry. This seems obvious but too often brands use influencers that their team follow and like personally rather than who is necessarily right for the brand. Platforms are also working to support content creators on their feeds. LinkedIn’s Global head of product, Sudeep Eldo Cherian, joined us on the podcast to discuss the platform. LinkedIn introduced influencer tags four years ago to “increase the prominence of quality content” and drive organic reach. 

Creating a data strategy

Secondly, you need to be tracking absolutely everything. Data is there for the taking from social campaigns and gathering as much as possible is key. A/B testing with creators, using different assets, calls-to-action or copy builds an understanding of how your audience will respond. This data then becomes structured information that can be used to inform your strategy going forward. Whether it’s recognising that sustainability influencers perform best when using video assets or that sports pages drive the best views in the evening, this information will build your data strategy. 

Diversity and representation

We had incredible guests join us on the podcast to discuss diversity and representation in influencer marketing; from James Kirkham, head of COPA90 discussing the momentum behind women’s football this year to Jaz O’Hara of The Worldwide Tribe who shared the stories of refugees and asylum seekers to raise awareness of their situation. Joshua Coombes of DoSomethingForNothing spoke about making a change for good, and how we are all influencers able to impact the cause. It was a topic heavily discussed but not reflected in the attendees of the festival. I look forward to this changing next year. 

Influencer-first strategies

With last year heavily focusing on influencers as an emerging marketing channel, this year’s influencer strategies were almost expected to be integrated into campaigns. I predict next year that some brands will shine through by implementing influencer-first marketing strategies. Brands will start to use influencers as the core inspiration for their campaign and build integrated strategies with influencer talent as more than a media channel to promote it. Influencer marketing isn’t here to replace all marketing, however, as the industry recognises it’s value in the mix. For some brands it will start to take centre stage. Over the next year, I’m expecting more and more brands to be implementing this. 

What we learned

All in all, Cannes was once again an incredible week of networking, listening to inspirational talks and sharing a rosé or two. The #CannesHangover has taught us in particular that it doesn’t take a stage to make an impact. A few microphones, some inspirational stories from great guests and an open invitation to join us for lunch afterwards were the ingredients we needed to make an impact at Cannes. As for influencer marketing, we’ve seen a shift as the majority of brands are now implementing influencer strategies. Until next year, Cannes.
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