Is Influencer Marketing Replacing Digital Advertising?

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If brands are given the option of digital marketing or influencer marketing, nine out of ten will pick the latter. The choice is clear. But why do they opt for influencer marketing?

To know this, let us try to understand the benefits of influencer marketing over digital marketing. 

Why is influencer marketing better than digital advertising?

The world of social media has changed the promotional approaches of brands. Influencer marketing is a tool widely accepted by startups, emerging businesses, and even large companies. With internet penetration at an all-time high, social media platforms are getting more active users and helping brands grow.

But why is influencer marketing gaining immense popularity over other forms of digital marketing? Is it because of its cost-effectiveness? Is it that influencers promote products better? Let us find it out here.

  • Reaching the young generation

Brands find it challenging to target the Gen Z audience as they have a low tolerance for ads that show products. Even the millennials are hard to reach through digital advertising simply because they don’t trust ads. It is where influencer marketing comes in.

The young generation prefers videos that show real people in real situations. It is why YouTube and TikTok influencers are gaining prominence. Brands are now recognizing the huge value that influencers offer to their consumers. Influencer marketing gets better traction with the young audience.  

  • It is simple

Influencer marketing strategies are simple. It is the newest form of digital advertising, yet, it looks familiar to brands because it has an easily defined form. The art is in taking advantage of the various features of the social media channels. Brands collaborate with relevant influencers to co-create engaging content. The influencers post it on their social media account to convey the message to the followers. The followers trust the influencer’s recommendation and, thus, the brand message gets delivered successfully.

The challenge for businesses, though, is in finding someone the audience trusts. It is not an easy task to find influencers with a high engagement rate. Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for launching a great campaign. Understanding the target audience and conveying the message successfully is the key to influencer marketing. An influencer marketing platform comes to the rescue of brands here. It acts as a mediator for brands to connect them to relevant influencers. Also, brands can hire a reliable influencer marketing platform service to design conversion-optimized campaigns that successfully attract the niche audience.

  • Increased visibility

Influencer marketing helps companies increase brand awareness by reaching new audiences. It acts as an excellent social proof paired with word-of-mouth marketing.

A brand’s chances of penetrating the target audience are higher when using social media influencers. The young audience and the millennials that form the largest user base on social media platforms are particularly difficult to reach for the brands. Gen Z looks up for reliable role models and the influencers fit in this profile perfectly. Brands utilize the influencing power of social media creators to endorse their products.   

Moreover, influencers create content that matches native advertising on social media platforms. For instance, a tweet on Twitter or a video on YouTube will not look out of context for the users. Influencers use the features of social media platforms to create content about a brand or product and share information about it with their followers. A successful influencer marketing campaign will garner immense visibility in terms of likes and comments.       

  • Influencers bring authenticity to the brand

Users do not like content that shows up as forced. So, what type of content is more likely to deliver authentic content?

Influencers create content for their followers. They build a strong follower base by engaging with their followers regularly. Brands benefit from the high engagement rate of the influencers. They repeatedly convey the brand message in front of the viewers.

In influencer marketing, an influencer is the star of the show, whereas, in digital marketing, importance is given to the product. Hence, influencer marketing is subtle advertising where consumers are shown products organically. It builds a healthy relationship between the consumers and the brand.

  • No blocking or skipping ads

Many of the users install ad blocker extensions to disable ads from showing on their browsers. If any website tells the users to disable the extension, they leave such websites because of other options. As of 2019, over 600 million devices have installed ad blockers. Ads have become so regular now that users do not show interest in clicking on them. In fact, the user’s eyes see the middle content on the page knowing that the sides contain ads. Users develop banner blindness because ads come across as unwanted noise.  

How do you deal with users blocking ads? It is with influencer marketing. Influencers integrate the brand message naturally in their content so that it does not come across as forced.

  • Cost-effective brand endorsement

Digital marketing techniques like PPC ads, display ads, or even social media ads are expensive. Even though you target a niche audience, the chances are that it does not get you results. Also, the cost per click goes high if it is a high-volume search keyword.

Influencer marketing offers you the flexibility to select influencers and formats. Brands can collaborate with micro-influencers or macro-influencers as per their budget. Also, brands can choose to put out their endorsement in stories, posts or through images and videos. It gives them the flexibility to choose the format based on their marketing budget. 

  • Getting results

Influencer marketing campaigns generate eleven times greater ROI than other forms of digital marketing. Brands measure results through data acquisition and analysis techniques. Brands create separate links and provide them to influencers. The followers click on the link to visit the website. Brands track the website traffic through the link.

Also, the results can be tracked through post insights. The impressions and the engagement are clearly visible, and so is the increase in the follower count.  

A Holistic Approach To Influencer Marketing And Digital Marketing

Till now brands are blindly utilizing the benefits of influencer and digital marketing, without giving a thought to how these channels could interact with each other. Brands get the best results when they use both influencer and digital marketing. The influencer marketing campaign can be accentuated by digital marketing techniques. Brands have to use both in a way that complement each other.

Instead of using in isolation, brands must develop holistic marketing strategies that seek to integrate the services and offer total brand awareness to users.   

So, is influencer marketing replacing digital advertising?

Marketers are taking the influencer marketing route to embrace credibility and authenticity. It does not mean that digital ads are nearing their end. Google Ads or YouTube Ads have the power to get conversions. But influencer marketing is adding a new dimension to advertising. It is making it easy for brands to have a one-to-one connection with the consumers.

The brands not collaborating with influencers are missing a great opportunity. What do you think?

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