Is an agency's main job now to achieve ‘influencers everywhere, conversion anywhere’?
Influencers are increasingly being deployed by brands and agencies with the intent of making consumers take action.
This was just one finding when we spoke to major agencies and brands for our new paper: ‘How agencies and brands influence consumer decision making through the messy middle’.
The ‘messy middle’ of the report's title refers to the area between awareness and conversion. Within the tangle of a digital purchasing journey, consumers often get stuck in an endless loop of evaluation and exploration, gaining exposure to competitors and reducing the chance of purchase.
Influencers have proved adept at exerting their influence on consumers who would otherwise be resident in the messy middle.
Almost every agency we spoke with agreed that influencers were coming into their own on creating conversions, rather than the perhaps more traditional deployments of brand awareness.
It has then been a good year for influencers.
All of the agencies we spoke with reported significant influencer success and had plans to expand or maintain their influencer marketing in 2022.
None of the above was particularly surprising, but what was surprising was when we discussed the future of influencer marketing with brands and agencies.
Growth in the influencer space has, until now, been both fairly predictable, volume-driven and linear.
More agencies and brands have entered the influencer marketing space, so the sector has swelled.
In 2022 though, with influencer marketing maturing, growth will be driven more by innovation, diversification and performance.
And that means, influencers are about to be deployed everywhere.
Several of the agencies we spoke to were, or had already, changed their internal organisational structure to reposition influencers as a resource available anywhere, rather than seeing influencers as a discrete channel.
‘Reach everywhere, conversion anywhere’, was an often discussed mantra during our research.
The logic of the restructure is built, in part, on the logic from the messy middle.
Influencers have two major features which lie behind their success in the messy middle.
They are trusted by their audiences. Almost 75% of Gen Z and millennials follow influencers on social media. 50% of that audience say that they trust influencers to give good advice about the brands and products they are promoting vs only 1 in 10 Brits who trust social media advertising.
Reviews and reassurance are a major factor for consumers when assessing their options in the messy middle. A review from a trusted peer - a status held by many nano, micro and mid-tier influencers - can have a large impact on consumer willingness to purchase.
The key shift for agencies and brands here is that those two significant factors apply no matter the channel within which the influencer features.
This, it seems likely, will result in influencers featuring on a cross-channel basis in 2022.
Paid social, for starters, is a natural expansion point. Many agencies we speak to already give their influencers a paid media budget on campaigns and specifically look to partner with influencers who have experience on the paid side of their social media platforms. For influencers this is obviously a win-win, whilst agencies can benefit hugely from the audience segmentation available and the influencers known affinity and trust status within that audience.
Paid social will not be the last channel influencers are seen on in 2022.
TV and radio advertising, print, content; even in post-sales support and satisfaction roles. The opportunities are numerous and are being embraced by agencies and brands.
The shift to seeing influencers as a vital marketing resource is under way. Expect to see more of them this year. A lot more.
Influencer Marketing, Martech and Marketplace expert
Robust debate, constructive challenge, and a relentless pursuit of growth, improvement and efficiency enable Alec to cut to the core of the issue. Alec currently holds executive directorships at Influence Network an AI-driven influencer tech platform and equitable, The Private Equity Portfolio Talent Network, alongside non-executive and advisory roles at a number of marketing, ad tech and technology startups.
Executive experience in:
- Advertising, marketing, media, PR agencies - both independent and Big 5 agency networks in the UK, UAE (Dubai) and globally.
- Sales & Marketing strategy, planning and delivery
- Start Up and Scale Up with 400% YonY Growth
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Registered in England and Wales: 10815710
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