A recent WSJ article described (Social) Influencer Marketing Tech space as a “hot mess”
And I couldn’t agree more!
One of the best parts of my job is to help demystify the emerging tech space and add some method to the madness .
Today we did just that!
Our firm, Lighthouse3.com released an industry-first report, “The CMO’s Guide to Influencer Technology – 2016“, which takes a comprehensive look at the Influencer Tech space and provides a helpful guide on selecting the right technology.
What we learned after reviewing hundreds of technologies blew us away!
The good news
The popularity of Influencer Marketing is driven by its ability to tap into networks of influential individuals with massive reach and credibility across digital and social platforms.
Here are the 3 key trends driving the growth of Influencer Technology market.
- Decline of advertising due to massive increase of number of global ad-blocking users (94% of mobile users, Internet Trends 2016)
- Rise of Influencer programs is leading to greater need for efficiencies and proving ROI (1 in 3 marketers expect their budget to increase, Augure)
- CMOs are driving increase in Marketing (automation) Technology spend (33% of CMO budgets go to technology, Gartner)
The bad news
Influencer Marketing is a newer discipline and huge white space for technology.
“There are many fragmented players today in influencer marketing that offer tools that solve pieces of the problem or focus on one vertical or one social network.” ~Rustin Banks, Chief Product Office, TapInfluence
Here are 4 reasons why it’s so challenging to separate marketing hype from reality.
- Lack of standard technical capabilities
- Fragmented market across multiple categories
- Over 60% of platforms launched within the past 5years, this is still a nascent space
- Lack of scalability as vendors are smaller, privately or venture funded and not as well-resourced
In our report, we introduced the “5 Capabilities” model to help define these technologies. Influencer Marketing platforms typically offer #1 to #5 while others offer partial capabilities depending on their positioning and target market.
We used our “5 Capabilities” model to organize this highly fragmented industry. After reviewing 100s of technologies and cutting through the marketing hype, we found thatInfluencer Technology is not one single homogeneous market but divided into 133 vendors across 5 categories.
This space is in constant motion. We are seeing many more acquisitions, pivots, andrebranding as technology vendors try to position themselves to be most competitive.
“Like everything else in marketing, the silos need to disappear. All are interconnected, and in order to deliver an omni-channel experience Externally, you must create an omni-channel culture internally!”~Ted Rubin, Influencer, Brand Ambassador
There are 4 major areas where industry experts expect to see significant developments in future:
- Standardization of core capabilities for each category
- Continued churn as this space matures and platforms evolve
- Focus on performance-based programs and reporting
- Shift away from silos and towards integrated solutions
As this space stabilizes, platforms will move towards standard features and performance-focused programs but silos will need to break down for brands to get the most ROI from these technologies.