Looking back on 2016.
2016 was a big year for the world, and for influencer marketing. We saw budgets and public awareness grow while trust in influencer authenticity declined, and witnessed major corporations (like Google) acquire influencer agencies. Here’s a recap of 2016’s major moments in influencer marketing…
Influencer Marketing Became A Digital Marketing Standard
- Influencer marketing became a standardized part of digital strategy for brands and agencies. Digital is superseding print and will soon outbid TV for annual spending budgets.
Proliferation of “Digital Dashboards”
- With a boom in influencer marketing, there are now hundreds of digital dashboards in operation. These largely self-service platforms automate influencer campaigns, using machine learning to vet influencers, track campaign analytics, and manage payments, but they do tend to deliver pre-scripted marketing monologues.
The FTC Increased Strict Policy Enforcement
- Publicized FTC crackdowns, aided by watchdog groups, created suspicion surrounding the authenticity of influencers. Ad-like messaging and hashtagging has emerged to adhere to FTC guidelines. Strict FTC policy enforcement has mainly targeted brands and celebrities, but smaller influencers have yet to be targeted. (EX: Kim Kardashian, Warner Bros, Lord and Taylor)
Loss of Authenticity and ROI
- The over-saturation of the market, increase of digital dashboards, and suspicion stirred by the FTC public statements, have led to noticeable loss in authenticity, and ultimately in engagement and ROI for influencer marketing. Influencers are not being used to their full potential as brands ask them to deliver scripted marketing pitches.
Smaller Influencer Agencies Were Acquired
- A number of influencer marketing agencies were acquired by larger PR agencies and marketing firms. This speaks volumes to the value and threat influencer marketing poses to traditional marketing methods.
- EX: TheAmplify, Roostr, iFabbo, Google/YouTube acquired Famebit, NY Times acquired HelloSociety
Written by Darby Barton and Nichole Brandt