We are finally starting to see a shift in advertising dollars.  This is a topic that we have been advocating for some time now.  Our products are designed to not only break market segments for our clients but also position them as the influencer within their industries.  Social media is long-term investment.  One that should be discussed directly with the CFO. Social in a nutshell is an administrative cost, not a marketing expense.  
- Rod Ponce, CIO

For a strategy once defined by Millennial audiences and consumer-focused brands, influencer marketing has undergone a significant shift in the last year, gaining the trust of marketers across all industries. Recent research has found that 86 percent of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, and nearly half plan to increase their budgets over the next year.

A number of factors have contributed to this enthusiasm, including consumer distrust of traditional advertising and better tools for measuring influencer marketing ROI. Here are just a few of the reasons we think marketers are right to embrace influencers:

Ad-Blocking Software

According to a study from Reuters, ad-blocking software is on the rise. Nearly 25 percent of American consumers now use it, but that number reaches 44 percent for ages 18-24, suggesting that the future is largely ad-free. Not only will influencer content bypass ad-blockers, but users will most likely be viewing the content because they actively chose to read it, not because it was an interruption.

As ad-free content becomes the norm, advertisers need ways to attract attention in an organic and genuine manner. Influencer marketing allows this.

Authenticity

Influencers often have an authentic voice that resonates with their readers. And because influencers are focused on sharing interesting content rather than selling products, they think editorially even when they’re running sponsored campaigns.

Where marketers can have a difficult time thinking outside “brand language,” influencers offer a fresh perspective on how to translate your brand values in a way that elicits a response from your consumers or clients. This is just one reason that brands across all industries, from fashion to financial services, are drawn to the strategy.

One Campaign, Many Audiences

Traditional marketing campaigns reach a single audience with a single voice — that of your brand. Influencer marketing allows you to reach multiple audiences through influential leaders, strengthening the impact of your message throughout the campaign.

Using this strategy, fashion brands can access consumers in different cities through local influencers who actually live there. Likewise, B2B brands can speak to different types of potential clients through trusted experts.

Measurable ROI Once viewed as a fuzzy metric, marketers are finding increasingly effective ways to measure their ROI on influencer marketing. While affiliate links have allowed brands to measure immediate sales, metrics like cost-per-engagement have allowed them to measure their impression on potential customers and likelihood of future sales.

By assessing the costs of producing professional-quality imagery in-house, brands can also measure the ROI of the influencer content itself.

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