We live in a time where, when children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, becoming a YouTuber or social media influencer is second only to becoming a doctor.
The age of influence is here and it’s no longer confined to high-profile B2C brands targeting high-profile influencers. It’s moving on from what Forbes called the “next hottest thing in B2B marketing” in 2019 to increasingly become a go-to tactic for B2B marketers too.
Wherever you are in your influencer marketing journey, these statistics provide a fascinating insight into why it’s so important and the trends to be aware of as we head into 2021.
Influencers Are More Trusted Than Brands
Influencers and our social networks are now effectively where we turn to for 'word of mouth' recommendations and trusted credible advice. In B2C, YouTubers are now more credible than celebrities, while in B2B, our social networks of peers and industry experts are the influencers.
- 63% of survey respondents said that they trust influencers more than what a brand says about itself. Source: 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer
- 90% of business decision-makers initiate their purchasing process by researching opinions from industry experts and peers. Source: Harvard Business Review via MarTechSeries
- 43% of B2B buyers said their consumption habits have changed to prefer credible content from industry influencers. Source: DemandGen 2020 Content Preferences Study
- 40% of people say they have purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer. Source: Twitter and Annalect study 2016
- 74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions. Source: The Manifest study 2019
- 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. Source: Twitter and Annalect study 2016
- 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice from their favourite creator over their favourite TV personality. Source: Think with Google, Google-commissioned Ipsos Connect, “The YouTube Generation Study” 2015
- There is a 5.2x increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers and brand tweets, compared with 2.7x from brand tweets alone. Source: Twitter and Annalect study 2016
The Business-Case For Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has continued past the hype because it’s consistently been shown to be an effective tactic for marketers. It drives cost-effective ROI that doesn’t just help win new customers, but better ones too.
- B2B influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. Source: Tap Influence, Sales Effect Study: Influencer Marketing
- 22% of marketers say influencer marketing is their most cost-effective channel. Source: Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study, 2015 via Convince and Convert
- On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. Source: Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study, 2015 via Convince and Convert
- 70% of businesses make $2 or more for every dollar invested, and 13% make $20 or more. Source: Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study, 2015 via Convince and Convert
- 84% of marketers who have used influencer marketing believe it is an effective tactic. Source: Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 Survey
- 55% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing. Source: Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 Survey
Influencer Marketing Is Gaining Traction
With buying habits changing and the proven impact that influencer marketing can bring, it’s not surprising to see that it’s increasing in use and receiving a bigger budget. However, although B2B brands are now catching onto influencer marketing, the vast majority don’t have established campaigns
- 21% of marketers plan to make influencer posts the focus of their 2020 social media strategy. Source: Social Media Today
- 67% of global marcomm professionals now see influencer marketing within their scope. Source: Talkwalker, State of PR 2020
- 73% of all marketers say they have allocated more money for influencer marketing this year, despite the pandemic. Source: Takumi survey of 3,500 consumers, marketers and influencers in August 2020, via The Drum
- 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers. Source:Schlesinger Associates study for Augure (May 2015) via eMarketers,
- Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. Source: Influencer Marketing Hub Survey 2017
- 39 % of marketers planned to ramp up their budget for influencer marketing campaigns in 2018. Source: Linqia, The State of Influencer Marketing 2018.
- However, only 15% of B2B brands are running ongoing influencer marketing programs. Source: Traacker & Altimeter report, The 2018 State of Influence 2.0
The Best Influencer Marketing Channels
What channels are most effective for influencer marketing campaigns will, of course, depend on who your audience. LinkedIn doesn’t rate highly for many marketers but that is likely to be due to the B2C bias in many surveys, and blogs - a traditional content format in B2B - were rated as most effective in one study.
- 37% of marketers said that blogs were the most effective platform for influencer marketing, while 25% said Facebook was the most effective. Source: Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study, 2015 via Convince and Convert
- 32% of U.S. influencers who currently work with brands say Facebook is the best platform. Source: She Speaks Influencer Marketing Study, Aug 2016 via eMarketer
- Instagram is the most used platform for influencer marketing, used by 87% of marketers, followed by Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (22%), LinkedIn (16%) and more specialist social networks (15%). However, only 30% of respondents were involved with B2B campaigns. Influencer Marketing Hub, The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmarking Report
Finding the right influencers and ensuring that they are authentic and don’t harm the brand are some of the biggest concerns for marketers. And keeping up the ever-changing social platform algorithms is a headache for many too!
- 61% of marketers have reported difficulty finding the right influencers. Source: MediaKix Influencer Marketing Survey 2019
- 23% of marketers say it very difficult to find the right influencers, and 62% suggested that they had medium difficulty. A mere 14% of respondents reported finding appropriate influencers to be easy. Source: Influencer Marketing Hub, The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmarking Report
- Nearly half (49%) of marketers believed brand safety could occasionally be a concern when running an influencer marketing campaign. 34% believe brand safety is always a concern. Source: Influencer Marketing Hub, The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmarking Report
- The biggest influencer marketing challenge is spotting fake followers and inauthentic engagement (50%), followed just behind by social algorithm changes making content less visible (49%). Source: MediaKix Influencer Marketing Survey 2019
Choosing And Working With Influencers
When working with influencers, building an effective relationship that helps both of you can achieve your goals is paramount. So what do most marketers and influencers want?
- 75% of marketing professionals say verified web traffic is the most important criteria when selecting an influencer. Source: May 2015 study by Schlesinger Associates for Augure via Influencer Marketing Hub
- 71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing. Source: TapInfluence & Altimeter, June 2016,
- 68% of B2B influencers want to work with brands who provide competitive compensation. Source: Crowdtap, The State of Influencer Marketing
- 47% of influencers say they prefer to work with brands whose values are in alignment with theirs. Source: Crowdtap, The State of Influencer Marketing
- 76% of influencers value brands that give them creative freedom. Source: Crowdtap, The State of Influencer Marketing
If you’re keen to begin or improve your influencer marketing campaigns, then you’ll find the webinar we co-hosted with Onalytica helpful.
In How To Increase Awareness, Credibility & Trust Through Employee Advocacy & Influencer Marketing Marketing we share how to create influence in the market via your SUbject Matter Experts and connect your internal experts to expert influencers.