It’s no secret that influencer marketing is now an accepted and common practice in the fashion, luxury and cosmetics industries, and has become central to many brands’ marketing efforts – whether it’s to boost notoriety by reaching new audiences, drive more traffic to a website, or to increase sales through product placement; so much can be achieved by working with key opinion leaders.
And, according to Joel Backaler, author of Digital Influence, “Influencers will only become more important to the way we engage our target audiences in the years to come. The days of “interruption marketing” through disruptive ads are ending – people want to learn from trusted peers, not faceless companies.” Backaler is among a huge array of experts that all believe influencer marketing is still on the rise. But, what will the future of this digital marketing practice look like?
Thanks to past research and data extracted by our team of data scientists, we were able to identify certain industry trends that are setting the stage for the future of influencer marketing.
3 Predictions about the Future of Influencer Marketing
1.) CGI Influencers will continue to rise
It isn’t just the campaigns that are going digital, even the influencers themselves are, literally! CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) influencers like Miquela, Bermuda, Blawko and Shudu have proven noteworthy in the past couple of years, gaining quite a following. Mega Influencer Miquela now has 1.5 million followers and, thanks to her ever-increasing popularity, the creators behind this virtual opinion leader (a company called Brud, who also happens to be responsible for CGI influencers Bermuda and Blawko) received $6 million in funding in 2018.
CGI influencers’ ability to garner and engage large audiences has captured fashion and luxury brands’ attention, ultimately resulting in paid collaborations – just as you would see with human influencers. This rising trend has led us to dig a little deeper into the data to try and understand if these types of influencers have the same power as real-life opinion leaders.
In order to calculate the ROI for fashion and luxury brands, we had a closer look at the top eight Instagram posts around Prada’s FW18-19 show according to our proprietary Media Impact Value™ algorithm (MIV®), and this was the result:
Top Instagram Posts for Prada (FW18), According to MIV®:
- Rita Ora: € 98,345 MIV
- Kaia Gerber: € 57,534 MIV
- Liu Wen: € 30,516 MIV
- Irene Kim: € 16,522 MIV
- Yolanda Hadid: € 15,758 MIV
- Pat McGrath: € 14,048 MIV
- Lil Miquela: € 13,764 MIV
- Caroline Daur: € 12,192 MIV
When observing the above ranking, we can see that although Miquela doesn’t quite manage to generate as much MIV as major celebrities such as Rita Ora, Liu Wen or Pat McGrath, the CGI influencer racked up more media value than Mega Influencer Caroline Daur (who we ranked as the second most impactful Mega Influencer during the SS19 season).
This outstanding performance (plus their ability to reach millennials and Gen Zers) is the reason why we believe that CGI influencers will continue to gain traction within the fashion and luxury industries.
2.) Brands will seek out more niche influencers
In our State of Influencer Marketing 2018 report, after surveying over 600 professionals, we found that 46% of fashion, luxury and cosmetics experts claimed that Micro Influencers are the most valuable asset in order to reach a niche audience and gain real results. While working with Mega and All-Star Influencers are ideal for generating awareness (thanks to their ability to reach a massive audience), Micro Influencers are experts in engaging more focused communities. As we explored in our piece Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand, “whenever Micro Influencers share their story, their audiences are ready to listen, and as their communities are smaller in size, their relationships are much easier to nurture, which is why their engagement rate tends to be higher than their peers.”
Forbes also elaborated that “hiring a combination of micro-influencers and celebrity influencers may raise the ROI of a campaign and lower the overall marketing spend.” All of this coupled with the rise in agencies focused on niche influencers, we’re sure to see an increasing number of brands work with these opinion leaders.
3.) Influencer Marketing will be moved in-house
A recent article published by Glossy stated that “the U.K. division of Benefit Cosmetics has launched an in-house influencer agency to streamline its marketing operations.” Senior publicists, Annie Harrison, explains this move: “As the importance of [influencer marketing] has grown, we’ve had to remain a relevant player in the conversation and create a hub that reflects that importance [to the] business.” And, we believe more and more companies will follow suit.
A main factor that will contribute to this is the growth of influencer marketing platforms. Fashion, luxury and cosmetics professionals previously had no other choice than to externalize this practice to agencies (due to time constraints and lack of expertise in the field), but now with dedicated digital solutions professionals can easily carry out influencer campaigns in-house.
From choosing the right influencers for a brand and managing the campaign (communication, content, rates, etc.) to extracting reports on the performance of these campaigns; the digital solutions for influencer campaign management are able to streamline and optimize processes, helping companies standardize this marketing practice. No doubt we’ll be seeing more in-house dedicated teams sprout up across the industry!