Is the Bubble About to Burst on Influencer Marketing?

8th Feb

If you have a marketing calendar that doesn’t have an influencer strategy built in, you may well be one of a dying breed. What started as a trendy buzzword has become a linchpin to many a campaign. Is influencer marketing a bubble set to burst?


If you employ a PR, media or advertising agency there is no doubt that they’ve pitched an influencer campaign to you. Influencers, whether they are bloggers, instagrammers, youtubers or snapchatters, can offer your brand their audience on a plate, if you’re able to secure the right deal. But is it really as easy as that?

There is an industry-wide confusion about who to pay, how much to pay, and a lack of transparency of results that has given rise to the idea that the influencer bubble may well be about to pop..

It doesn’t help that there isn’t a clear cut definition of ‘influencer’, and it certainly adds to the pool of confusion. Iconosquare defines an influencer largely as someone who has more than 20,000 followers but less than 500 followings, whereas Social@Ogilvy crafts a more flexible offering, less focussed on dry statistics:  “A third party who significantly shapes the customer’s purchasing decision” (Brown & Hayes, 2008) and “has a greater than average reach or impact in a relevant marketplace” (Word of Mouth Marketing Association Handbook).” We like this one.

Brands have historically chased the super influencers, paying large sums of money to get included on a super influencer’s instagram (think of numbers up to £17,000 for a post and you’re not far wrong). This has led to some brands being priced out of the market, and the rise of the micro-influencer is fighting back (and often winning).

The audiences of smaller influencers have often proven to be more engaged than those of the instagram superstars, and therefore may actually prove to be of more value. Surveys show that people trust influencers much more than they trust celebrities, so perhaps there is a tipping point when your favourite vlogger becomes ‘upgraded’ to celebrity when they no longer reply to your comments and follow you back.

Social marketing and word-of mouth have always been the ultimate goal for any marketing, and influencers are just the amplified extension of that. We don’t see it going anywhere, although of course we see it changing, morphing and evolving. As the social platforms of choice come and go (bye bye Vine) as will the voices that we are exposed to. But the core message remains the same; provide a product that is so good people want to share it, provide content that is so good that people want to engage with it, and develop relationships with those who are listened to.

Read more about how we collaborated with an influencer to create artwork for an H&M activation, or how we created content with some of the biggest celebrities at the GQ MOTY awards.