Influencer marketing seems to be one of the biggest buzz words of 2016 – everyone is talking about it. As a relatively new line item in many marketer’s budgets, there’s still a lot to figure out. How much of your budget should you be allocating? And perhaps more importantly, how much are others already allocating to influencer marketing campaigns?
We were also curious about 2016 Influencer Marketing budgets, so we went straight to the source – our existing brand partners. We asked over 40 partners we’ve worked with in 2015 about their plans for 2016. These partners range from beauty to lifestyle to food to fitness brands. Some are brand new to influencer marketing while others are seasoned pros, having run 10+ campaigns on the Grapevine Marketplace. Spends have ranged from small test spends sub $5,000 to significant ones over $25,000.
Here’s what our partners told us about their influencer marketing budgets for 2016:
- Over 80% of the brands who were polled plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets
- Over 50% of brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets significantly. In some cases, this means allocating six-figure spends to programs that were virtually non-existent a mere year ago
- None of those who were polled plan on reducing their spends significantly as a result of their previous campaigns
HuffPost Business also recently predicted some pretty huge influencer marketing trends for 2016. They estimate influencer marketing will climb to 50% of digital marketing budgets for online shopper marketers, taking the place of more traditional (and disruptive) forms of media like display advertising.
When we look at what social media platforms respond best to influencer marketing campaigns, YouTube still seems to reign supreme – Forbes has reported YouTube has the best ROI of any influencer platform. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect to see influencer marketing grow on other forms of social media.
We also asked our brand partners about the social media networks that are most important to them. In our poll, we found that Instagram has started to catch up significantly to YouTube in perceived value for brands, trailing behind by only 3.45 percentage points.
The increasing popularity of influencer marketing makes sense. Younger consumers value the opinion of YouTubers more than traditional celebrities. In a survey by Variety, the top 5 most influential figures among teens 13-18 were all YouTubers. As this generation grows up, they will have learned to get their brand advice from the same place they get their entertainment: from small, personal screens and self-made content creators.
If you haven’t invested in influencer marketing yet, 2016 is the year to start. The question shouldn’t be, “are we spending on influencer marketing this year?” The question should be, “how much are we spending on influencer marketing this year.” 2016 is your year. Let’s get started together.