Micro-influencers beat out macro-rivals in fashion, luxury and cosmetics industries

Launchmetrics has released its 4th annual “State of Influencer Marketing in Fashion, Luxury and Cosmetics” report, revealing a number of trends concerning the fast-growing digital marketing channel, including skews in target demographics, changes in influencer remuneration and the rise of micro-influencers.


LA-based blogger and influencer Gabi Gregg currently has 603k followers on Instagram and featured among Forbes' top 10 fashion influencers of 2017 - Instagram: @gabifresh
 
The report, which surveyed 600 marketing, PR and communications professionals working in the fashion, luxury and cosmetics industries in Europe and the US, as well as 200 influencers, found that 78% of the companies had implemented a marketing campaign involving influencers in 2017.
 
This is a 13% increase compared to the 65% of companies who had engaged in influencer marketing in 2016 according to last year’s report, suggesting that the use of influencers, which has already established itself as an industry staple, isn’t likely to let up at any point in the near future.
 
The growing popularity of influencer marketing no doubt has something to do with its perceived benefits, which are numerous and widely accepted. 90% of the marketing professionals surveyed, for example, believed that influencer marketing is effective in generating brand awareness, 73% stated that it helped to build customer loyalty, while 69% thought that the practice had a hand in driving sales.
 
As brands increasingly seek to differentiate marketing strategies in an effort to better connect with different consumers, the report also showed that influencer marketing is currently being overwhelmingly targeted at millennials, with 76% of marketing professionals identifying this age demographic as the primary target of their activities with digital influencers. Gen X was found to be the second most targeted age range, lagging behind somewhat with 20%, while Gen Z took third place with a comparatively paltry  3% –  a figure which come as something of a surprise for a fast-growing, digitally native demographic.
 
In order to reach these consumers, 46% of marketing professionals preferred to work with micro-influencers (defined as those with 10k to 100k followers on their social media channels) and 34% preferred macro-influencers (101k to 500k followers). Only 9% favored mega-influencers (501k to 1.5 million followers), while 11% thought celebrity influencers (1.5 million+ followers) were the most effective marketing partners.

This said, only 8% of marketing professionals stated that number of followers was an important factor in their decision to work with an influencer. Instead, quality of content stood out as the most significant consideration, mentioned by 45% of those surveyed.
 
“When we think of the word “influencer”, celebrities such as Rihanna or Selena Gomez may be the first to come to mind”, commented Launchmetrics CEO Michael Jaïs in his introduction to the report, going on to explain that, in reality, for many companies “micro-influencers are the most valuable asset in order to reach a niche audience and gain real results.”
 
Perhaps predictably, Instagram continues its reign as the most popular influencer platform, more than twice as popular as any other single channel among marketing professionals, preferred by 36%. Facebook took second place with 16%, while blogs claimed the number three spot with 13% – both lost share to Instagram, although Snapchat was the biggest victim on this front, slipping from 10% in 2016 to 6% in 2017.
 
The report attributed the consolidation of Instagram’s domination as an influencer platform to the introduction of functionalities such as Instagram Stories and, more particularly, Instagram Shopping, which allows for a seamless, integrated consumer journey from marketing to purchase.
 
Among influencers themselves, the data was even more striking, with 99% of those surveyed saying that they use Instagram to create content. Facebook (67%) was beaten to second place by blogs (85%).
 
The practicalities of relationships between brands and influencers are also developing: while 98% of marketing professionals cited sampling and gifting among their tactics for engaging influencers, 41% claimed that they now pay influencers “always or almost always” for their campaigns. Furthermore, 60% think their spending on influencer campaigns will increase in the near future.
 
This is just as well, as for influencers monetary compensation ranked alongside creating valuable content as their top motivation for taking on projects, both mentioned by around 63% of those surveyed. Free merchandise, on the other hand, came in towards the bottom of the pile, mentioned by only 20% of the 200 influencers consulted for the report.
 
Indeed, with influencer marketing demanding an increasingly substantial financial commitment from companies, and the fashion, luxury and cosmetics industries experiencing something of a micro-influencer boom, brands will have to become increasingly selective about the digital professionals they engage with to maximize their investments.
 
As pointed out by the report, this could lead to some interesting developments as it will “require professionals to gain more expertise or use specialized influencer tools to identify key opinion leaders.” Either way, it seems clearer than ever that influencers are here to stay.
 
The full “The State of Influencer Marketing in Fashion, Luxury and Cosmetics” report is available to download on the Launchmetrics website.

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