NDA Viewpoints: The future of influencer marketing – Amazon and Google show the way

New Digital Age is running a series of articles looking at the future of influencer marketing, talking to experts in the market around how the discipline will evolve over the coming year.

By Nancy Elgadi, Digital Director, Right Angles

Influencer marketing is changing. Whether this is due to increased scepticism and lack of engagement of influencer content, or even due to external factors such as Instagram’s decision to remove ‘likes’ on the platform, brands will need to re-evaluate their strategy.

There has also been a stronger clamp down by advertising authorities in monitoring influencer accounts and sponsored content to ensure social media users are aware that they are being advertised to. 

However, in my opinion, influencers simply don’t have the same level of influence anymore. A single post will not be able to equate to guaranteed product sales, although it is questionable whether they ever did. Social media users, and by virtue, potential customers are looking for more than a recommended product or service.

They want an experience. And so, it will fall to influencers to give them that.

Influencers will need to sell an idea rather than the tangible product. How the product or service will make you feel, what that feeling will look like, why you, as the social media user following said influencer, need that experience — and why you deserve it.

The move toward experiential marketing is not a new one however, and with more and more brands recognising the popularity of ‘instagrammable’ opportunities, companies are realising that experiences often lead to sales.

A great example of this was Google’s ‘Curiosity Rooms’ in November last year — London-based installations and series of events over a period of five-weeks that drew attention to the launch of the Google Pixel 3 smartphone. The free experiences were also extremely photogenic, and the themed selfie rooms and celebrity events made the campaign all the more popular on social media.

Another campaign worthy of mention is Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Carnegie Deli pop-up last year in December. It recreated a functional 1950s-era Carnegie diner in New York City as a tool to promote the show.

Amazon also hosted a series of VIP events at the deli for the press, which were attended by the show’s cast. The diner served more than 11,000 people over its seven-day run and generated 1,735 posts across platforms — again proving the popularity of creating an experience that social media users are able to share on their accounts.

Brands can capitalise on their consumer’s desire to share everything instantly. People thrive on the opportunity to be able to broadcast an exclusive experience, and this is what brands must take advantage of.

Through the offer of experiences, they will also be able to create entire influencer marketing campaigns rather than one-off posts, which may prove to be more cost-effective.

Another strategy businesses should incorporate as part of their work with influencers is to leverage popular trends and challenges. A brand jumping on the back of a social media challenge is cringeworthy but partnering with an influencer and enlisting them to do so on your behalf so that you can capitalise on its popularity, is clever.   

The future of influencer marketing will depend upon its ability to adapt and evolve to growing trends, not only within social media, but also in marketing. Influencers will need to be more creative than simply plugging products and asking their audience to trust in their recommendations.

It won’t just be a case of telling their followers anymore, but rather showing them, as well as inviting them to get involved by offering an unforgettable aka an instagrammable experience.

Influencer marketing will need to offer you, as the consumer, the opportunity to be the influencer.

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