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influencer marketing tips trendsNo longer is influencer marketing a teen-ager crashing the marketing party. Influencer marketing has grown up into a well-developed, well-financed and successful strategy, with many different types of influencers working across a range of platforms. So says the 2020 State of Influencer Marketing report from Linqia. And there’s no sign of an influencer marketing bubble that’s about to burst.

Still, there’s plenty of room to grow and improve. Influencer marketing will continue to become more sophisticated, strategic and transparent this year, according to Linqia. Here are some key findings and recommendations.

Check Your Budget

Marketers are spending more on influencer marketing and running more campaigns. More than half of marketers surveyed (57%) plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. Nearly 20% ran six or more campaigns in 2019, and almost 20% of campaigns were always-on. In 2018, marketers who ran 11-15 campaigns accounted for 3%; in 2019, that number jumped to 9% last year.

Recommendation: Be careful to budget adequately. Brands may need to increase budgets to compete successfully. Most mid-level influencers, those with 10,000 to 100,000 followers, charge between $250-$400 per blog post with full social sharing, advises Kristen Matthews at digital marketing agency eAccountable.

Is Bigger Still Better?

Interestingly, more marketers what to work with nano-influencers (25%), defined as those with fewer than 5,000 followers, than celebrities (22%). In addition, 20% want to work with no-payment influencers, a sign of the popularity of earned media strategies.

Recent research from Socialpubli.com found that nano-influencers enjoy more engagement than influencers with larger numbers of followers. Marketers likely seek their high engagement rates as well as lower costs. Most nano-influencers post on social media as a hobby with no thought of a future income stream. Many endorse products for free samples and may be business and marketing novices who need guidance from sponsors. Overseeing a large number of “nanos” needed to produce an impact could prove overwhelmingly labor-intensive.

Recommendation: Carefully consider the type of influencers that best match the brand’s goals and resources. For many brands, micro-influencers offer the best option.

Influencer Marketing Measurement

Measurement of influencer marketing clearly has room for improvement, the Linqia survey shows. Marketers ranked determining ROI as their top concern. The possibility of social media algorithms making influencers’ nonpaid content less visible was their second top concern.

Most brands (71%) measure success with engagement metrics, such as likes, share and comments. While easy to obtain, those metrics are harder to link to monetary results. Brands also cited brand awareness, impressions, and conversions, such as email sign-ups and downloads. Product sales and audience sentiment are less popular.

Recommendation: Brands can improve influencer marketing measurement with sophisticated media monitoring and measurement tools. Social media measurement tools can also find the best influencers for brands, what content they share, how widely their content spreads across the digital landscape, and how they improve public sentiment toward the brand.

Bottom Line: Influencer marketing has become more competitive and sophisticated as it’s come of age. While most marketers believe influencer marketing is effective, the strategy requires adequate resources, careful planning and advanced measurement.