Originally published in Talking Influence Dec 11, 2018

As 2019 is on the horizon and influencer marketing is set to be even bigger and better next year, we asked influencer marketing experts what their biggest influencer marketing predictions are for 2019.

Edward East, CEO, Billion Dollar Boy

Influencer marketing will take its rightful place as a cornerstone of the overall marketing strategy. As new measurement techniques, reduction of trust issues and AI advancements drive the industry forward, more and more clients will begin to see Influencer Marketing as a key part of the overall marketing plan, not just a tactic. And as fresh influencers and extra budget flood in, influencer marketing will drive more reach into email, web and content marketing. Meanwhile, the content being produced will be increasingly used in other mediums such as out-of-home advertising and print.

Scott Guthrie, influencer marketing consultant

Influencer fraud will have a positive effect on our nascent industry. Sunlight, after all, is the best disinfectant. Drawing wider attention to these unethical practices pushes the discipline forward. First, reach was lionised above all other measures. So the unscrupulous bought fake followers. Then the industry combined reach with engagement as the key metrics. So the unscrupulous bought fake engagement, too. At each point, the industry is nudged along inch by inch away from measurement based on vanity metrics towards embracing intent metrics and – the ultimate goal – impact metrics.

Tom Augenthaler, digital and influencer marketing consultant, The Influence Marketer

The future is bright for influencer marketing but it will experience more growing pains as brands and influencers struggle with fake followers and more importantly fake engagement. Many brands will continue to make the mistake of choosing influencers based on large follower numbers rather than relevancy – but the good news that brands are starting to wise up. Also, we will hear more about “virtual influencers” in 2019 but it’s not yet clear whether brands will buy into it.

Emily Heathcote, influencer & partnerships marketing manager, TopCashback

The biggest trend that I think we’ll see in 2019 is more and more emphasis on Instagram Stories. We’ve already started to see a general switch of popularity from posts to Stories and the changes in the market show this a big trend. Recent updates include YouTube’s introduction of Stories for their creators, Instagram launching its close friends feature and Facebook rolling out its group stories globally; and that’s all within the past month.

There are over 400 million people watching Instagram Stories a day and apps such as Unfold are getting more popular and providing a higher quality content. I think this is a positive thing; we’ll see more branded content and the swipe up functionality on Instagram allows for much better measurement of campaigns as you can introduce tracking links and really start to get a better view of the campaigns ROI.

Mona Hellenkemper, director of content, InfluencerDB

2018 marked the beginning of a movement against fraudulent influencers, fueled by Unilever’s CMCO Keith Weed, who called for action to clean up the influencer ecosystem and rebuild trust in the industry. It is true that brands need to take action by committing to collaborating exclusively with authentic, organically growing influencers and looking beyond reach when selecting collaboration partners.

However, other parties within the industry need to do their part as well: agencies shall educate their clients on the topic of fraud strategies. The platforms themselves need to crack down on those third-party services that sell fake followers and inauthentic engagement – Instagram actually started to kill off these apps and we expect to see a lot more action like this in 2019.

Ian Samuel, chief commercial officer, Buzzoole

Brands are becoming more strategic in their focus when it comes to influencer marketing. They are no longer content with just having generic data or ‘vanity metrics’ on a campaign, they are delving deeper and want to know exactly which influencers and which types of content are influencing sales and translating into purchases.

With this in mind, we can expect 2019 to be the year when the channel of influencer marketing is held to far closer scrutiny than it has been previously with marketers looking beyond social metrics. It will be more important for influencers and agencies to develop robust measurement capabilities that effectively capture first-party data, in order to compare it with advertising campaigns using other media and prove that an investment into influencer marketing is worthwhile. The technology that will be developed in coming years will bring brands even more visibility about the success of their campaigns, meaning that platforms and providers that fail to provide the necessary data will fall behind as the market evolves.

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