What is it about people’s fascination with blogs, vlogs and social influencers?

Now, more than ever, people are consuming non-traditional media. One of the key areas of non-traditional growth is influencer marketing. More and more, its being included within the traditional communications plan.

Brands see the benefits of using influencers as a short cut to bypass the clutter and to engage potential consumers. Influencer channels are now a bone fide media platform. One where brands can showcase their products and piggy back on the social reach of bloggers, snapchatters and famous intagrammers.

And therein lies the appeal to brands. The rising usage of social media means that younger generations are turning away from traditional media. Digital influencers offer them a route to younger audiences that is otherwise difficult to secure.

Further proof of the significant increase in the use of popular brand endorsers can be found in a survey conducted by Celebrity Intelligence. Their results found that 61% of brands have worked with digital influencers in the past 12 months. That’s more than the 57% who worked with singers or musicians, 51% for TV actors and 49% for models. The survey also revealed that 44% agree that digital influencers will be the best option for endorsement opportunities in the near future.

A separate study of 1,000 customers by Pysche found that 82 percent of people think fashion blogs are going to become more influential than fashion magazines in the future. One third (35 percent) of people said they read blogs over magazines because it felt more “accessible.” What’s more, this study mirrored the Celebrity Intelligence survey exactly on the question of ‘endorsement opportunities. 44% agreed that social influencers will be the best option for endorsement opportunities in the coming years.

A recent Forbes article backs both these studies. It stated that those businesses that use influencer marketing have a 37% better retention rate than those who don’t.

It’s not just consumer marketing that are seeing the benefits of influence marketing. A recently released Forrester report showed that 80% of all B2C and B2B purchases involve some form of word-of-mouth recommendation from a digital influencer during the purchase cycle.

Using influencers also presents challenges. It requires meticulous planning and a trust in the ability of the influencer to represent the brand values always. A brand is showing immense trust in and hope that the influencer does not have a misstep. As any potential negative news around an influencer can have catastrophic effects on any brand using them.

A couple of years ago, an “influencer” would have been a little used term in marketing circles. But now, and with no small help from the rise of social media which places power in the hands of the individual, the social reach of digital influencers is eclipsing that of celebrities. They are becoming the go to people for brands who want to deliver a stronger ROI and a more engaged audience.