It’s not enough to just do it: Rise of the brand influencer
In 2016 alone, Cristiano Ronaldo generated almost half a billion dollars in media value for his main sponsor Nike.
According to Hookit, which measures social media and digital media values for brands, his over 1 700 posts across social media generated 2.25 billion interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets and video views). Nike’s logo was featured in 347 of these posts, resulting in 477 million interactions worth an estimated US$499.6 million.
No longer is it enough for a brand’s spokesperson to just appear in a few media advertisements and receive a pay cheque – they are expected to be engaged with the brand every day on their widely followed social networks.
Influencer marketing today is very different from its origins of celebrity product placement and is proving more effective than digital ads, which are increasingly filtered out by ad blockers.
According to DigiDay, $570 million was spent in 2016 on influencer marketing on Instagram alone, and this is expected to grow faster than digital adspend. Digital marketing itself is expected to overshadow traditional television as the biggest area of marketing spend, as access to affordable, broadband Internet reaches more people. The drop in traditional television viewing, particularly in the 18-24 age group, means fewer opportunities for brands to reach their audiences through mass media.