Consumers are becoming more influenced by content shared across the web after a new study by the New York Times found that 85 per cent of people understand both a brand and a product better when they share videos, articles and other resources online, regardless of specific platforms.
More than two-thirds of adults also claim that their decision about whether to purchase a product or service is directly affected by the content that they see shared online, which suggests that influencers are vital for driving engagement and sales. These influencers are not necessarily celebrities but can be friends, family and other individuals and third parties.
A separate study by Activate By Bloglovin found that 41 per cent of marketers are enjoying more success with influencer-focused campaigns compared to traditional ad initiatives, and 67 percent claim that this is helping them reach and engage with a target audience more effectively. Nearly two-thirds also increased their influencer budgets this year.
The sentiments about the potential for influencer content to transform campaigns was echoed by MSL strategist Erin Lanuti, who stated at the Cannes Lions event this week that it is “very powerful at driving performance” because it is better to have other people saying that a product is best rather than a brand merely beating its own drum.
She added: “In test after test we’ve done, we’ve consistently seen that it drives more engagement and more sales.” A further study by Media Kix suggests that Instagram will be central to influencer marketing campaigns and could account for a spend of around $2.4 billion (£1.89 billion) by the end of the decade.
Also speaking at Cannes Lions, Public Media exec Belinda Rowe urged brands to act more like publishers when approaching content strategy and campaigns, as this mindset and a simple three-step plan will drive better performance outcomes and ensure that they get the results needed to succeed.
She added: “One is being audience-first rather than just leveraging content through campaigns. The second is thinking about how you are leveraging content through the customer journey. And the third is getting brands to start thinking much more like publishers rather than thinking about campaigns.”