What do Mike Tyson and Vanessa Hudgens have in common? I mean, aside from the fact that they both have bigger bank accounts than ours. Stumped? Where the two celebs are alike is that those big, fat bank accounts of theirs are partly funded by online advertising. Both Tyson and Hudgens make money online through brand promotion, raking in thousands each time a company pays them to praise or pose with their product on social media. Vanessa Hudgens has been spotted endorsing beauty products such as GlamGlow and BooTea on her Instagram, while Mike Tyson is constantly representing Trade 12—an online trading company—on his personal outlets. These two multi-millionaires make money effortlessly through influencer marketing.
In short, influencer marketing is a process of marketing that utilizes individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and positions marketing activities around these influencers. Forbes.com defines the marketing method as “the grey territory between an official testimonial and a subtle product mention, which is done almost in passing.”
For instance, when the infamous Kylie Jenner—she is, after all, the queen of making money doing almost nothing—posts a photo of herself on social media with a Sugar Bear Hair vitamin hanging from her mouth while waist-length locks cascades over her shoulder, an impression has been made on any number of her 95 million followers.
When it comes to influencer marketing, many companies are willing to shell out the big bucks in the name of a lasting impression, in which they hope will generate massive sales. BusinessInsider claims that “it’s difficult to track the effect influencers have on brands because there’s no easily measurable goal . . . it’s hard to tie those internet ‘thumbs up’ to concrete sales numbers.” However, according to MediaKix “Digital ad spending was $60 billion in 2015, a 20% increase from 2014. At an average annual growth rate of 15% each year, digital ad spending will reach $100 billion by the year 2020.” These rising spending rates are emblematic of a marketing method that is clearly cutting a profit.What’s more, influencer marketing, especially on social media, has the ability to circumvent ad blockers–a method used by 47% of online consumers according to Forbes.com–meaning the number of consumers reached is far greater and the likelihood of sales is thus increased.
We live in a consumer culture where celebrities dominate the public sphere. Consumers tend to defer to the opinions of those they either respect, admire or are intimidated by. These feelings dictate shopping habits and ultimately manifest themselves as a form of worship—celebrity worship, to be exact. Hence the reason influencer marketing is so wildly effective.
In fact, according to Forbes.com, “In 2017, these sorts of collaborations between big brands and influencers are only to increase. So much so, that if influencer marketing is the beginning, then what’s next is the shift from social media to social marketplaces.”
While the process of influencer marketing may make sense theoretically, it does indeed beg the question, “Why do people even care about content or products promoted by celebrities?” After all, consumers aren’t so naïve to think that celebrities are actually using 100% of the products they’re promoting. According to BBC.com, “Companies get celebrities to advertise [their] products because they know that our perceptions of value are actively influenced by fame. Celebrity endorsements not only make products more visible, they make them more desirable.”
So, how exactly do these influencers find content and products to share? The answer is affiliate networks—intermediaries between publishers and merchants. Affiliate networks locate the best influencers for your marketing goals and allow you to capitalize on the effectiveness of influencer marketing. *
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