A study conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers found that 65 percent of multinational brands are planning to increase the influencer marketing spend over the next year. The survey covers 34 companies, representing 15 categories and about $59 billion in global media and marketing spend.
All of the study’s respondents partner with influencers to market products online, with 54 percent stating that they do so “only occasionally/in some markets” and 46 percent of those surveyed reporting that they rely on them “very often.”
The main reason brands work with influencers, as stated by 86 percent of respondents, is to boost brand awareness. At the same time, 74 percent use influencers to reach new and targeted audiences while 69 percent said they improve brand advocacy. A majority of respondents (96 percent) stated that “reach and views” was a key KPI used to assess influencer activity. About 40 percent reported that they used influencers as a means of researching audience sentiment.
However, that willingness to invest more is accompanied by higher expectations for transparency standards. An overwhelming number of brands (96 percent) said that the quality of followers was “absolutely essential” or “very important.”
The higher influencer standards come as companies such as Unilever have taken a stance to better ensure that influencers act ethically. Historically, the marketing through influencers has skewed higher for clothing, beauty products, travel and gaming—but is increasingly extending to other industries.
In the US, video game publishers have had issues with influencers not disclosing sponsors or ads through YouTube. But, legally, at least int he UK and US, the burden of educating influencers of disclosure and proper procedure is on the advertiser or brand–according to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority.
Hence, companies are putting the credibility and reputation of their influencers at the top of their priorities list, with almost all, 93 percent, reporting that they are critical, and that view extends to how the relationship is presented to consumers. Seventy-one percent of brands said that that the way influencers disclosed their relationship was an essential or important part of the selection process.