Influencer marketing has grown significantly in recent years to become an integral cog within the media mix. Endorsements from friends/family/celebrities have always shown themselves to be one of the most effective channels in influencing purchase decisions. So it is no surprise that the new wave of digital influencer marketing is gaining such traction given its roots come from a familiar deep rooted place.

There is also money to be made, Digiday UK estimates the average cost per reach at $1,000 per 100,000 followers on whichever social media platform the campaign sits on with elements such as campaign length and other appearance fees etc. driving up the fee further.

The growth in influencer marketing can also be partly attributed to the difficulty to gain cut-through in a crowded advertising market with the average person being exposed to more than 5,000 ads per day, up from 500 in the 70’s (according to CBS).

The cost of content creation can be a barrier for brands to make inroads into this area themselves, and the same can often be true even if they work with a media partner. Influencers allow a brand to piggy back on their readymade appeal, while allowing the creator to maintain their authentic production values and create the content for the brand at a comparatively affordable price.

The strength of influencer marketing lies in not seeking out influencers and attempting to capitalise on their following to gain reach but rather to build upon an already existent sincere and credible affinity an influencer has for a brand. These genuine connections are the ones that brands should seek out. Anything outside of this has the potential for the influencer to isolate their following and for the brand to create more negative sentiment than positive with consumers.

Fyre Festival is an example of the hazardous position influencers and brands place themselves in whenever they no longer tie themselves into sincere brand endorsements. The festival which was launched by global superstars such as Kendall Jenner (who was paid $250,000 for one Instagram post according to Vice) and Emily Ratajkowski not only ran into difficulties when patrons arrived at a festival that was in a dilapidated state but also when they and 100 of their influencers were sued for not disclosing that their endorsements/social media posts were commercial. The Federal Trade Commission in the US requires influencers to disclose if their posts are commercial, Ratajkowski was one of the few that did avoid the suit having tagged her post #ad.

Fyre Festival is a cautionary tale. Perhaps the best way for brands to seek approach Influencer Marketing in the modern age is to seek out influencers who are already known to make sincere and honestly referenced endorsements.