Are celebrity influencers still effective in social media marketing?

New research has suggested that young consumers are three times more likely to find new products or brands via celebrity endorsements than the older generation. This is despite many social media marketing commentators claiming that the age of the celebrity endorsement is over, with micro influencers and peer recommendations apparently having more effect on purchases.

The new data from Global Web Index has found that over half of all web users follow some sort of celebrity account on social media. In the 16-24 age group, this figure rises to 68%. Those aged 16 – 34 are three times more likely than those aged 55 – 64 to follow or purchase from a brand based on a celebrity endorsement.

The rise of the micro influencer

The Global Web Index research seems to be contrary to what other studies and social media professionals are saying about influencer marketing at the moment, which is that micro influencers are actually the key to success. Adweek.com published statistics from brand influencer specialist agency HelloSociety showing that those with 30,000 followers or fewer can actually be more effective. This study showed that:

  • Micro influencers are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings
  • They can deliver 60% higher engagement rates than HelloSociety’s average campaigns
  • Influencers with smaller followings have 22.2 times more weekly conversations than the average consumer

So, why are accounts with smaller numbers of followers more effective than famous names when it comes to influencer marketing? Because they are more believable as advocates for the product or brand, as HelloSociety’s CEO Kyla Brennan explains:

“Influencer marketing is still effective when they’re looked at as peers,”

“When it comes to celebrity accounts, who have maybe millions of followers nobody actually believes that a celebrity is a real fan of a product they’re trying to sell,”

“Engagement goes down once you reach a certain threshold of followers, which is almost counterintuitive.”

Research such as this demonstrates that it isn’t always the number of followers that are important when choosing an influencer for your brand to work with. Finding the right fit is just as crucial, as an influencer with credibility, relevancy to the product and greater engagement with their followers can all make a bigger difference. This ensures your message gets in front of the right eyes, not just the most.

Is influencer marketing right for my brand at all?

If you’re not sure that influencer marketing is worth investing in or you’ve dismissed it as just another marketing fad, you could be making a costly mistake. An enormous 84% of marketers are planning to launch at least one influencer campaign in 2017 according to research by eMarketer, while previous research from the same source has demonstrated that more than 80% of marketers find it effective for driving engagement and awareness.

Have you had any success with influencer marketing? How did you choose your influencer – did you go by follower numbers, celebrity status, credibility or another key factor? Please feel free to share your experiences.

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