By Raja Anjana Kothapalli
Let’s take a brief glance at the common queries on influencer marketing before delving into the report.
The 5 W’s of influence marketing
Who is an influencer?
An influencer is a person who enjoys the trust and loyalty of a group of individuals and has the power to influence their buying decision process.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is primarily a social media marketing method employed by companies to position their brand by hiring social influencers to target their follower base.
When did influencer marketing start?
The concept of influencer marketing has been around for a long time in the form of product recommendations through traditional media. The definition of an influencer has evolved over time- from famous characters to celebrities to reality show stars and the current social influencers.
Where does influencer marketing happen?
Social media platforms rule the influencer marketing arena. They are closely followed by influencer marketing platforms such as Hobo.Video. The main reason behind it is the continuous increase in the usage of these platforms by people, social influencers, and brands.
Why is influencer marketing popular?
Unlike traditional celebrities, influencers share a rapport with their followers and enjoy their trust and loyalty. This facilitates focused targeting by brands, boosts brand awareness, increases brand exposure, and enhances potential customer engagement.
Influencer marketing in India: consumer as a lens
When the pandemic struck, nearly the entire world went under lockdown, practiced isolation, and adopted social distancing. A change of such magnitude is usually followed by behavioral changes in people. India is no exemption to this scenario.
Changes in Indian consumer behavior
With a huge number of internet subscribers, India is one of the rapidly growing and largest markets for digital consumers.
A report by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) says that the total internet subscribers in India are 749.07 million in June 2020 as compared to 665.35 million in June 2019.
McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimated that the total internet subscribers could exceed 800 million by 2023, due to the increasing accessibility and reducing cost of high-speed connectivity and smartphones.
According to MGI, there are 425 million users of the smartphone in the country. This figure is estimated to reach 700 million by 2023.
India became a global leader in monthly data consumption, as per the Annual Report 2019-2020 by DoT, with an average consumption per subscriber per month increasing 146 times from 62MB in 2014 to 9.06GB in 2019.
Moreover, the cost of data has substantially decreased (95% decline in data costs since 2013 according to MGI) making access to the internet affordable across the country.
Effect of changes on influencer marketing in India
As Indians started spending more time on the internet, there has been an increase in online content consumption and social media presence. Let it be for recipes or fitness videos or just to pass time, people began to depend more on social media platforms such as Instagram reels and YouTube videos.
This change of behavioral pattern in their potential consumers hasn’t gone unnoticed by most of the brands.
Grabbing the opportunity, these brands shifted more towards the influencer marketing space. They deepened their association with a variety of social influencers to maximize engagement.
PepsiCo’s limited-edition Kurkure and Masaba hampers during Diwali generated consumer engagement of more than 1.2 million in just three days.
Consumer buying process
A consumer buying process is a sequence of steps taken while making a purchasing decision. The process begins with problem recognition. Then followed by information search and evaluation of alternatives respectively, leading to the fourth and important step of the purchase decision. The last step of the process is post-purchase behavior.
Through influencer marketing, brands team up with relevant social influencers to encourage their followers in fast-forwarding the initial three stages and influence their purchase decision.
For its Lay’s Khol campaign, PepsiCo claimed to have associated with nearly 2,500 micro-influencers which resulted in engaging 10 million people.
Insights into the Indian consumers
1. Of the entire online activities, one-third is spent on videos.
2. More than 85% of Snapchat users are in the age group of 13 to 34 years.
3. Consumers using the internet increased in number.
4. The number of hours spent on the internet by consumers has increased.
5. The number of people using smartphones grew.
6. Time spent on social media platforms has increased.
7. Almost all age groups spend up to 1 hour on social media every day.
8. Usage of mobile data shot up because the cost of data reduced.
9. By the end of 2020, Gen Z is estimated to be 40% of all consumers.
10. The Internet is mainly used for social networking. As per a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), 66% of internet users in urban India regularly access social media platforms.
11. India has over 200 million Facebook users.
12. More than 60% of active social network users are students.
13. 11% of internet users are connected through WhatsApp.
14. Twitter accounts for 23.2 million Indian followers every month.
15. Traffic on social media in India peaks between 6 PM and 10 PM.
Influencer marketing in India: influencer as a lens
A good portion of Indians spend more than half of their time on social media. Consequently, most of the top brands try to leverage it. As a result, the market for good influencers in India started to widen.
Role of a social influencer
During brand campaigns, influencers have a major role to play in content creation. In fact, the engagement levels generated an influencer shows the extent of their success. When the engagement is high, a creator enjoys more influence. Similarly, when it is low, a creator loses influence. So engagement is very important for you to succeed as an influencer.
Above all, the influencers need to maintain transparency with the brands. This further builds trust in their followers.
Influencer marketing platform
Instead of collaborating with brands, an influencer can avail the services of an influence marketing platform. In fact, Hobo.Video is one such platform.
Moreover, Hobo is the premier global destination for short-form mobile video influencers. It is also a platform where influencers use their best creativity to make video content unique to the consumer. Further, Hobo operates in association with over 24,000 micro and nano influencers. It also has products in 63 categories and has 310 million followers.
These platforms tie-up brands with influencers and facilitate them in engaging consumers through modern marketing formulae such as hashtag challenges, brand anthems, short contests, etc.
Insights into the influencers
1. In the age group of 16 to 24 years, female influencers account for 57% while the males make 43%.
2. Over the age of 25 years, female influencers account for 69% while the males make 31%.
3. There are more female influencers than male influencers.
4. Approximately 40% of the influencers are aged over 25 years.
5. A large share of influencers operate on Android devices while compared to other devices.
6. The majority of social influencers are either Gen Z or Gen Y.
7. Micro and nano influencers generate seven times more engagement than the average of macro-influencers because they know their audience (a study by SocialPubli).
8. Micro and nano influencers with say 10,000 followers approximately manage to engage 30% of consumers, whereas influencers with over 1 million followers engage only 3%.
9. Comparatively micro and nano influencers exhibit high ROI-driven performance and conversation marketing.
10. 60 micro-influencers with a combined total of 2 million followers can generate more engagement (3.5%) than 1 mega influencer with 2 million total followers (1.5%).
More insights into the influencers
11. 60 micro-influencers with a combined total of 2 million followers can reach more consumers (a reach of 1 million) than 1 mega influencer with 2 million total followers (a reach of 200 thousand).
12. The majority of the influencers in fact prefer to use the products and services of the brand they promote.
13. Firstly, lifestyle and fashion influencers dominate the market. Secondly, beauty and travel niches rank next to them. Thirdly, comes the niches such as fitness, food, and health. Finally followed by entertainment and parenting.
14. Owing to reach and engagement, most influencers tend to favor Instagram for publishing their content. Ban on TikTok further flued Instagram reels.
15. Many influencers think that they can make a living by influencing marketing.
16. The main challenges faced by the influencers are unappreciation for their work and a delay in their payments.
17. Influencer marketing campaign costs between 1.5 lakh INR to 35 lakh INR. However, the cost is calculated considering many variables such as the popularity, volume, period of association, and scale of the influencers.
18. The go-to tools for content creation of many influencers include Filmora, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, Picsart, Inshot, Snapseed, Grammarly, etc.
19. Most mega and macro-influencers will require cash payment, whereas micro and nano influencers are easy to persuade to accept other forms of compensation such as discounts, gift cards, early access, exclusive events, experience box, etc.
Influencer marketing in India: brand as a lens
Almost every brand, big or small, has a presence on the internet. This further made the online world a clutter of information in which many brands get lost. As a result, it is getting hard for the brands to get attention online.
Due to this, the demand for innovative digital marketing strategies had arisen. This further made the brands notice the reach and engagement of the influencers.
Note that gradually the old tides are turning. Nowadays, more than fifty percent of the top brands prefer influencer marketing. These brands are also successfully executing influencer marketing campaigns. They do so by investing a significant amount of their time and resources.
A seven-step process for the brands
Brands need to take a sequence of seven steps to effective influencer marketing. They are:
1. Monitor the conversation
2. Identify influential individuals
3. Identify factors shared by influencers
4. Locate potential influencers in alignment with the campaign
5. Recruit these influencers
6. Incentivize influencers to spread the word
7. Reap rewards from the influencer marketing campaign.
In some cases, note that there will be a communication gap between the brand and its consumers. But sometimes, the brands do not have enough expertise. While sometimes, they can even be extremely busy. So in such scenarios, it will be difficult to implement the seven-step process.
An alternative to this is the influencer marketing middleman- an influencer marketing platform such as Hobo.Video.
Benefits for the brands
Note that smart brands are bridging communication gaps with their consumers. In fact, they are actively engaging them through influencers. These brands are benefitting in the following ways through successful influencer marketing:
1. Attracting potential consumers
2. Actively engaging consumers in marketing campaigns
3. Increasing repeat purchases
4. Developing customer loyalty
5. Optimizing customer lifetime revenue
For instance, Doritos’ #BlameItOnCrunch campaign successfully benefit from influencer marketing in India. Moreover, the campaign tapped over 1000 influencers to establish Doritos as ‘Fuel for Disruption’.
Another example of successful influencer marketing in India is the Amazon campaign titled ‘Kitne Mein Mila’. The campaign is about leveraging value for money. Further, it is used as a key factor for fueling consumer engagement.
Insights into the brands
1. The Return on Investment (ROI) of influencer marketing is 11 times higher than traditional advertising according to TapInfluence.
2. Digital marketing experts forecast a 20% increase in influencer marketing campaigns during the festival seasons in India.
3. Digital ads in India are one of the fastest-growing in the world. Further, it is a major factor for the growth spurt is the rapid penetration of mobile devices along with affordable internet connectivity.
4. A brand needs to decide on the type of content while designing a campaign. There are different types of content. Brand generator, co-developed, and influencer generated.
5. Brands also have become more cautious about fake followers and ad frauds.
6. Brands should not delay the promised payment and also any incentives to the influencers.
In short, the demand for influencer marketing in India is growing. In fact, lifestyle and fashion are the most favored niches. Brands need good influencers to sell their campaigns. People also need creative content to consume. Note that great content makes a good influencer. Further, engaging content fetches loyal followers. Brands need to, in fact, develop a solid influencer marketing campaign with transparent communication. As a result, such brands will earn goodwill from consumers and influencers.