Relatable Inc Presents
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The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report

Published by Leading Global Influencer Marketing Agency Relatable in collaboration with 350
Brands and Agencies in January 2019

 
 

a global brand study uncovering What 350+ marketing teams across 8 main industries in United states, united kingdom and sweden think about the future of influencer marketing

Consider this report competitive intelligence on what’s working for your peers.
— Aron Levin, Relatable

In this extensive deep-dive with more than 40 data points per respondent, we’ve uncovered how 351 different marketing teams and agencies in United States, Europe and the Nordics perceive the 2019 influencer marketing landscape.

If you're a marketing professional at a consumer brand or agency, consider this report competitive intelligence on what's working for your peers, how your business compares, and which opportunities for growth you may be overlooking.

This is, first and foremost, for you.


What’s covered


Snapshot/Current: What’s does the current state of influencer marketing look like amongst consumer-facing marketers right now?

Challenges: Where are marketers struggling, and how can they overcome the barriers they face?

Motivation / Drivers:  What underlying goals and values drive marketers to keep going to overcome these challenges? What key performance indicators and goals are marketers aiming to address with influencer marketing?

Outlook: What budgets and bets are marketers allocating influencer marketing efforts in the next 12 month?


Survey Methodology

  • A total of 351 marketing teams and agencies participated in the survey in December 2018

  • Only participants with a work email address were allowed to participate in the survey

  • All questions (unless skipped by logical condition) were mandatory to have a comprehensive data set

  • The terms "marketer", "Marketing teams and "marketing professional" is used interchangeably throughout this report to describe the entire group of survey participants ("respondents"), including Founders, PR teams and agencies

  • Marketing professionals from 30 different countries participated: United States (26%), United Kingdom (20%) and Sweden (28%), followed by Denmark, Canada, France, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia.

  • Industry vertical of participants: Fashion & Accessories (20%), Food & Beverage (15%), Travel, Hospitality, Leisure and Recreation (10%), Entertainment (10%), Personal Care - Beauty & Skincare (10%), Wellness, Fitness, Health (7%), Life at Home & Parenting (5%), Apps & Service (4%) and 50 Other Industries (20%).

  • Job titles of survey participants: Manager (27%), Senior Manager (18%), Management / C-Level (17%),

    Team Lead (11%), Individual Contributor (7%), Vice President (5%), Regional Manager (3.14%) and 32 Other titles (11%).

  • Both Brands (80%) and Agencies (20%) participated in the survey

  • Company size of participants: 1-10 employees (22%), 10-50 (31%), 50-200 (22%), 200-1000 (10%), 1,000+ (15%)

  • For questions, please contact aron@relatable.me


Leading Global Influencer Marketing Agency Relatable Presents

The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report


In collaboration with 350+ Brands and Agencies 

1

Snapshot/State: What’s does the current state of influencer marketing look like amongst consumer-facing marketers right now?


The channels

In an ever-changing social media landscape, it’s important to keep up with the latest channels and platforms. Respondents had the option to pick between a range of options or provide their own answer, should their preference of platform be missing.

Which channels do you predominantly tap into for Influencer Marketing campaigns?


  • Instagram is dominating the influencer marketing landscape with 9 of 10 (87.6%) respondents claiming that the wildly popular photo and story sharing platform is the channel they primarily tap into for their influencer marketing campaigns

  • While YouTube comes in at third place (37.3%), it’s to be noted that the effective cost and CPM rates (but consequently impact and ROI), for running campaigns with YouTubers can range 3-4x vs Instagram – Concluding that the actual market size of Influencer Marketing on YouTube may be equal, if not bigger than, Instagram (albeit its larger market share…)

  • The major platforms are followed by Twitter (15%), LinkedIn (12%), with Pinterest and Podcasts coming at 6.6%.

  • Snapchat was only mentioned one time in the “Other” section, and Blogs had just three mentions in total. This survey from 2018 revealed that many creators and influencers have replaced Snapchat with Instagram Stories: Which begs the question: Are brands next to follow?


Only 1 out of 351 marketing teams plan to use Snapchat for Influencer Marketing in 2019!
— The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report From Relatable


A bright future for Influencer Marketing
If there’s a will, there’s a way

  • A full 94% of respondents reply “Yes” when asked “Do you think influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing”.

  • The concept of influencer marketing isn’t new, but one in four (24.9%) marketing professionals have zero experience in their existing company.

  • 13.6% say that they’ve “Done one campaign/Activation”, bringing the pool of marketing professionals with little or no experience to almost four in ten (38.5%).

  • 38% respond that they’ve done several campaigns/activations and 23.1% are “actively working with influencer marketing and have lots of experience.”


pr vs marketing

  • There have been reports stating that the average influencer marketing campaign involve no less than 8 different teams in larger organizations– and the PR vs Marketing team debate is common amongst both small and large companies.

  • In this section, we aim to assess what influencer marketing is and what team that is more likely to control both budgets and the overall initiative. 

  • On one hand, there are similarities with traditional PR from a perspective that influencer marketing is about building a relationship with thought-leaders and key opinion makers to achieve earned media.

  • But it’s equally true that people have become media companies and influencer marketing is an effective form of natively and authenticity connect and engage their audience through paid advertising.

  • Here's how marketing teams, CMOs, PR teams, executive and founders assess the situation:



Select the statement you agree with:

  • While both perspectives could be true– it appears that 2019 will be the year when Influencer marketing finally gets a seat at the media buying table; with clear consensus that influencer Marketing isn’t about earned media and shipping out free products anymore.

  • 79% of brands will dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2019

  • And as far as budgets go, 83% cite that the marketing team is, indeed, in charge of the money:


Will you be dedicating Budget to Influencer Marketing in 2019?

346 of 352 people responded

What department does you Influencer Marketing budget come from most often?

346 of 352 people responded
8 of 10 brands will have a dedicated marketing budget in 2019!
— The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report From Relatable

Building a strong team with the right external support…

  • 47% of brands have a dedicated team for influencer marketing.

  • 67% run their campaigns in-house, while 33% run their campaigns with the help from an agency.

  • By cross-referencing the answer these two questions; “Do you run influencer marketing campaigns in-house or via an agency?” and “Does your company have a dedicated team or person that does influencer marketing?” we learn that it’s just as common to enlist agency expertise amongst companies that have a dedicated in-house team versus those that doesn’t.

  • The reasons for the external support are uncovered in the second and third section of this report

How often do you run Influencer Marketing campaigns?

  • Not all marketing plans are created equal. To understand what triggers marketing teams to leverage influencer marketing, and what their opportunities are, we wanted to learn if influencer marketing is planned for specific key product launches, monthly, quarterly or just once per year.

How often do you run Influencer Marketing campaigns?

346 of 352 people responded

How often you should execute your campaigns and how

  • While a majority are executing their campaigns both Monthly (30%) and Quarterly (28%), and very few just once per year (15%), It’s worth to note that very few marketing teams prefer to only execute their campaigns in an always-on fashion (18%).

  • The most common answer as to preference of cadence is campaign based (44%), closely followed by the powerful combination of both campaign based and always-on (38%).

  • In short– Marketing teams prefer to launch monthly and quarterly campaigns, combined with an always-on program, while about one in four are limiting their execution to when they’re launching new products.

What cadence do you prefer to execute Influencer Marketing campaigns?

346 of 352 people responded

2

Challenges: Where are marketers struggling, and how can they overcome the barriers they face?


Facebook Ads are more expensive than ever before, and it’s turning into a problem for direct-to-consumer brands


Is Facebook Advertising getting more expensive (or harder to optimize) for your company?

  • A full 82% of respondents state that their company is currently advertising on Facebook, and 7 of 10 marketers agree that their Facebook Ads are getting increasingly expensive or harder to optimize.

  • When segmenting for those that cite that their main revenue source is coming from selling their products or services direct-to-consumers through their own webshop, the number increase to 85%.

  • All-time-high costs to advertise on Facebook support the finding– and we can't help but wonder if 2019 will be the year where startups and direct-to-consumer brands that rely entirely on Facebook for customer acquisition will be in deep trouble…?

7 of 10 marketers agree that their Facebook Ads are getting increasingly expensive or harder to optimize.
— The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report from Relatable

Finding the right influencers and setting the right goals are still major challenges

  • Finding the right influencers is still a big challenge for 4 of 10 marketing teams (“What are your biggest challenges at the moment?”)

  • This is supported further with 30% answering Very Difficult and 60% Medium Difficult when questioned specifically about this challenge. ("How would you rate the difficulty of finding appropriate influencers to work with in your industry?")

  • It’s almost equally challenging to set goals and understand results (37%). This challenge extends to other teams and managers as well, as you'll learn later in this report in the section titled “We need to talk about your boss…”

  • The question (“What are your biggest challenges at the moment?”) supported multiple-choice answers, and 30% respondents picked more than one answer – concluding that while certain answers are more important than others; the combination of multiple pain points is almost as frequent as pointing to a specific problem.

  • Location, location, location: If finding the right influencers is a major challenge for brands, then identifying them in a specific location naturally becomes more difficult. A full 66% respond “Yes” when asked “Is finding influencers in a specific location important to you?”.

Multi-choice question: What are your biggest challenges at the moment?


A majority of brands and agencies are still operating 100% manually.

  • There’s no lack of platforms, tools and technology available for those that are looking to take their influencer marketing to the next level– yet, an overwhelming majority of brands (and even agencies) have no technology in place to help them with their challenges.

Do you currently use any tools (either developed in-house or 3rd party) to execute Influencer Marketing campaigns?

76% of marketing teams are operating their influencer marketing manually without any tools.
— The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report by Relatable

  • A full 70% of all respondents say that they lack both in-house and external tools to support their execution.

  • The number is increased to 76% when filtering for only brands (i.e. excluding agencies).

  • When segmenting for companies that have a dedicated team or person that does influencer marketing the number jump to a full 85% for those without a dedicated team or person (around half of all respondents).

  • On the other hand‚ the number of respondents that deploy either in-house or 3rd party tools) in their execution increase to 56% when segmenting for those that have a dedicated influencer marketing team.

  • Almost half of all agencies (44%) have zero in-house or 3rd party tools to help them execute influencer marketing for their clients!

In-HOUSE execution is hard!

  • The lack of tools (70%) and 4 out of 10 marketing teams having little to no experience with influencer marketing we’re were not surprised to see that in-house experience is causing multiple challenges for these brands. We asked “If you manage your campaigns in-house, what are your biggest challenges?” to dig deeper and understand what these exact challenges are.

  • 50% says that “finding influencers to participate in their campaigns” is a big challenge. This is likely caused by a lack of search interface (we’ve dealt with this issue by building out an index of more than 13 million people!), along with a manual approach to outreach and onboarding (due to no 3rd party or in-house tools)

  • The issue of finding talent is followed by bandwidth/time restrains (40% of marketing teams) – Again, likely the effect and result of little experience, no external help and/or lack of tools.

  • 35% says “Managing the contracts/deadlines of the campaign” is an issue, followed by “Processing Payments to Influencers” at 13.3%.

Frauds, FAKES AND THE RISE OF THE BOTS

  • If 2018 could be summed up with one word we’d nominate 'bots'. It seems like the moment a new media channel gaind real foothold–the click farms, frauds and fakes are quick to follow.

  • Major networks like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube came cracking down hard on bot farms and fake followers in the summer and fall by abruptly removing millions of fake accounts and Instagram took additional measures by shutting down their entire API for non-approved partners.

  • 75% of marketing teams and agencies express a concern with fake followers and fraud, but only 20% claim to have experienced fraud in their own campaigns.

Is Influencer Marketing Fraud (Fake followers, fake engagement) a concern to you?

Have you experienced any Influencer Marketing Fraud on previous campaigns?


ZERO-RISK CONTENT PRODUCTION

  • By entrusting creators to connect with their followers in ways they know will resonate with their audience, brands unlock an unparalleled opportunity to authentically connect with new and existing consumers to accomplish their marketing goals. The fact that you’re no longer in control is what makes the channel both powerful and effective. “No risk, no reward”, the saying goes, but that doesn’t mean that brands shouldn’t have the right to be concerned about their brand, message and positioning: Challenges that as many as 85% of marketing professionals consider to be concerns when running influencer marketing campaigns.

  • 44.8% responds “Occasionally” when asked “Would you consider Brand Safety a concern when running an Influencer Marketing campaign?”, with almost an equal share (39.6%) responding “Always”. Only 15.6% says “Not Really”.

  • We foresee that more rigorous processes to assure zero-risk content production (and streamlined best practice workflows for pre-approval) along with vetting of potential influencers will be very important for a majority or brands in 2019.

Would you consider Brand Safety a concern when running an Influencer Marketing campaign?


WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR BOSS…

  • If you’re a marketing professional at a consumer brand and are executing influencer marketing campaigns, there’s a 52% chance that another colleague, or your manager, is questioning your influencer marketing plans (“Do you face any obstacles with colleagues/managers justifying the spend for Influencer Marketing?”).

  • To understand what’s standing in the way between your plans, and internal stakeholders that are causing these obstacles, we decided to dig deeper and find out why.

  • A clear theme emerged, with “Do not understand influencer marketing metrics” as the single most common answer (56% of respondents).

  • This was followed by “Prefer traditional marketing methods” (19%), and poor performance and execution in previous campaigns (“Have had underperforming campaigns in the past” (12%) and “Previous campaigns had no clear goals” (9.6%). )

  • It’s worth to note that there’s likely a strong overlap with a lack of understanding influencer marketing metrics and the common challenge of “We're not sure how to set goals and consequently track/measure/understand results”.

Do you face any obstacles with colleagues/managers justifying the spend for Influencer Marketing?Why?

3

Motivation / Drivers: What underlying goals and values drive marketers to keep going to overcome these challenges? What key performance indicators and goals are marketers aiming to address with influencer marketing?



Influencer Marketing is becoming a media channel

  • As stated earlier in this report, 93% agree that Influencer Marketing is an effective form of Marketing, and a full 92% of respondents also answered “Yes, Definitely” or “Somewhat” to the question: “Do you see Influencer Marketing being a scalable tactic in your marketing mix?”

  • To learn more about specific goals and values, marketing teams were asked to answer the following questions:


What is your main objective when running an influencer campaign?


What do you find most valuable partnering with influencers?

  • Awareness and consideration is the most common marketing objective when running an influencer marketing campaign (50%), followed by Sales (35%) and User Generated Content (13%).

  • While distribution is obviously a great way to accomplish awareness and consideration (and consequently sales), the most valuable aspect of influencer marketing isn’t necessarily the distribution itself, but the opportunity to connect your brand with the unique relationship between the creator and the audience (62%).

  • There's a clear opportunity to combine influencer marketing efforts and content marketing budgets to increase return on both spend and production output.


There’s a disconnect between objectives and KPI’s

  • There’s one thing to set objectives, and another to measure. To understand the difference, we asked how marketing teams would primarily measure their influencer marketing campaigns.

  • 47% of respondents say that Conversion/Sales is their way to measure success, followed by 26% for Engagement or Clicks and 16% for Views/reach/impressions

  • With only 34% stating that their main objective is Sales, this could mean that there’s a disconnect between objectives and results. An alternative explanation could be that the ultimate goal of the Awareness/Consideration Objective of course is to generate conversion or revenue – and hence how success should be measured.

    How would you primarily measure success of an Influencer Marketing campaign?

  • To dig deeper and understand if there’s a disconnect between Objectives and KPIs (causing marketing teams to aim for one goal and then measure another), we segmented the results from the two different groups; those responding that the main objective is Awareness/Consideration and Sales:

 
  • As presented in the table above, 83% of respondents that claim “Sales” to be their main marketing objective will primarily measure the success of their campaigns based on Conversions/Sales.

  • When the main objective is “Awareness/Consideration”, the results are more scattered – Yet “Engagement or Clicks” arise as the most frequently picked option at 39%, followed by Conversion/Sales (26%).

  • To dig even deeper, we filtered the results by level of experience – and immediately identified a likely explanation the scattered results and misalignment between objectives and results:


  • Those with an extensive level of experience are more likely to pick “Engagement or Clicks” as their main way of measuring a campaign when the main objective is Awareness/Consideration (42%), while the metrics are actually reversed for marketing teams with little to no experience.

  • With this in mind, we highly recommend marketers to carefully align their objectives and how they measure success at the planning stage of their campaigns – and if we were to suggest a primary way of measuring the success of an influencer marketing campaign when the main objective is to create awareness and consideration it would be by engagement.


4

Outlook: What budgets and bets are marketers allocating to their influencer marketing efforts in the next 12 month?


let’s talk about money

  • As you’ve learned earlier, 78.6% of marketing teams will be allocating a dedicated budget to influencer marketing in 2019.

  • How much does it cost to run an influencer marketing campaign? is a common question we get from our clients. The answer (though not necessarily what we’d say in a meeting), is the same as if you were to ask how much you should allocate to Facebook, TV, Print, Out-of-home or any other media channel. The answer it that it depends on your overall marketing budget and how much of your budget you’re comfortable allocating to the channel every month, quarter, year or per campaign.

  • And from that perspective it doesn’t really cost anything to run an influencer marketing campaign, as you’ll be allocating the cost from your existing media budget. In this final section of this report, you’ll learn how 350 marketing teams plan to allocate their influencer marketing budgets in the next 12 month.

8 of 10 marketing teams will have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing this year.
— The 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report by Relatable




Budget allocations in 2019

  • 62% of respondents say that they will increase their level of spend in the next 12 months (Dec 2018).

  • 17.6% are unsure, 16.5% say the budgets will stay the same, and only 3.3% plan to decrease their spend.

  • When segmenting for those that answered that their Facebook Advertising is getting more expensive (or harder to optimize) (67%), the share of respondents that plan to increase their influencer marketing spend increase from 54% to 65% – Suggesting that they’re moving their media dollars from Facebook to Influencer Marketing.

Will your Influencer Marketing budget for the next 12 months…




Share of the media budget


What percentage of your Marketing Budget will you be allocating to Influencer Marketing in 2019?

  • 40% of respondents fall into the “10% or less” segment, while 60% are allocating from 10%-20% all the way up to “40% or more.”

  • There’s a significant drop in the share of companies that allocate more than 30% of their overall marketing budget to Influencer Marketing (11%).

  • By analyzing the individual answers from these 351 marketing teams (across different markets and industries) we learn that the average marketing budget allocation for influencer marketing in 2019 is 15-20% of their overall budget

  • Finally, we learned that 42% of respondents allocate their influencer marketing budgets differently depending on different times of the year. This group was then asked to specify when.

  • 147 of 352 people responded as follows:


Thank you! What’s next…

If you’ve found this report to be valuable, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to aron@relatable.me and share your thoughts. If you’d like to cite this study, please include a link to this page. For more data points and insights not covered in this report, please contact our CMO and co-founder Aron Levin at the email address above.


About Relatable

Relatable is a global technology-driven agency and influencer marketing partner to Ralph Lauren, Adobe, Google and 100+ leading global brands that are turning influencer marketing into a scalable media channel.

We use data, insights and proprietary technology to solve many of the pain points and problems that you’ve discovered in this trend report.

Head over here to schedule a meeting with our team: