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India Influence Report 2019 : Outlook for Influencer Marketing Landscape

Davis Kangjam *



India Influence Report 2019 reveals how influencer marketing is becoming an indispensable part of brand's marketing metrics as well as image positioning campaigns of major political parties in India

Zefmo's India Influence Report 2019 paints a positive outlook for the influencer marketing landscape while focusing on silver linings of the industry's commendable journey in a very short span of time. With the incredible success of influencer campaigns in the consumer market, it has created new avenues for the industry and now it is in the irreversible process of permeating to all spheres of human life, including politics and elections.

The 2019 parliamentary elections process across the country and the recent announcement of BJP's thumping win gave us a clear picture of the extensive demand and use of social media and social media influencers to successfully reach out to voters and strike a chord with them.

The increasing penetration of internet across the nook and corners of the country has also empowered and helped social media influencers nowadays intaking up a critical role in shaping the course of most of the decisions that their followers take, including their voting preferences. And it has led to a paradigm shift in the planning and focus of political campaigns.

India Influence Report 2019 by Zefmo Media Private Limited revealed what drove political parties and marketers in India to integrate influencer marketing for an impactful campaign. As per the report, 65% marketers and strategists shared that it helped in increasing (brand) awareness and recall; 50% of the respondent also agreed that it is effective in managing (brand) reputation and sentiments while 47% says it is effective in reaching out and influencing the new target audience.

For the first time in the history of general elections in India, the social media influencers were seen playing an important role to reach out to targeted audiences in various parts of the country. We see the influencer marketing industry gradually maturing with brands across verticals and size, political parties, individuals relying heavily on influencer-driven campaigns nowadays for their product or campaign positioning as well as messaging.

In 2018, while 92% marketers/strategists were expected to launch at least one influencer campaign, the report reveals that the popularity of influencer marketing has considerably increased in 2019 with 94% marketers/strategists finding it more effective and 85% continuously exploring innovative ways to collaborate with social media influencers.

The report further indicates that 76% marketers/strategists are looking to increase their budget allocation on influencer marketing campaigns this year compared to 62% last year.

India Influence Report 2019 has been prepared by Zefmo after conducting a detailed survey involving all the stakeholders, ranging from brand custodians to content creators across the Indian ecosystem in the last few months.

Positive Outlook for Influencer Marketers/Strategists India Influence Report 2019 clearly indicates that the perception of influencer marketing has further improved among the brands that are increasingly recognizing the value addition offered by the influencer campaigns, in terms of grabbing more eyeballs for their products and services.

India Influence Report 2018 had revealed how influencer marketing was being seen as a marketing tool that can help brands leverage their product or image effectively.

The 2019 report underlines the indispensability of social media influencers as critical marketing tools who help the brands in getting their (product and service) messages conveyed across with more passion, creativity and authenticity.

Why marketers look at it as impactful & integral?

Respondents participating in Zefmo's survey for the 2019 India Influence Report agrees on 3 major points as to why influencer marketing remains an integral tool to the overall marketing campaign.

60% believe that influencer marketing helps in reach to consumers/audiences or believe that influencer marketing helps in reach to consumers/audiences or potential consumers/audiences 56% say it effectively helps in connecting with both millennials and centennials 45% see it as a better alternative to traditional advertising The survey clearly shows that more and more marketers/strategists are now inclined to explore innovative ways of integrating social media influencers with their marketing strategy.

India Influence Report 2019: Key takeaways

The report sheds lights on many positives of the influencer marketing industry. It reveals how marketers/strategists are opting for influencer campaigns to create awareness, manage reputation and influence the new audience.

Salient points : 94% marketers/strategists found influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing

73% of marketers/strategists have revealed that they actively engage social influencers as part of either 'always-on' program, integrated program or campaign basis while 27% are still experimenting with influencer marketing 70% marketers/strategists responded "Yes" when asked if "exclusivity with social influencers is better for their brand?"

According to this report, there has been a palpable change in consumer behaviour in India in terms of how they look at social media influencers. Earlier, the purchasing behaviour of the consumers was heavily influenced by the product messaging relayed through advertisements. However, things have started to change now with the consumer displaying the propensity to repose greater faith and trust in those people, celebrities or otherwise, who he follows on social media platforms.

The survey unambiguously underlines how the social media influencers and influencer marketing are playing a critical role in shaping the decisions of the people, and not just purchasing decisions but even voting opinions. The marketers/strategists are gradually realizing the potential and power that the influencers wield and how influencer marketing produces incredible results when strategically integrated with the marketing mix.

"We are increasingly witnessing that the penetration of internet and social media is playing a very important role in the lives of people in India and influencers as a key part of the social media universe are actively making an impact by spreading positive messages and increasing diversity," said Shudeep Majumdar, Co-founder, Zefmo.

"We have seen influencers playing a very critical role in spreading great positive effects and promoting things like body positivity, spreading messages about speaking out about the #MeToo movement which has rapidly changed the way people think about and approach sexual assault, and environmentally conscious movements like veganism. Increasingly these trends are changing our expectations about our rights, about what we can do to get support, and about it being okay to say you are after all human."

The influencer marketing industry is expected to hit $10 billion by 2020, according to an AdWeek report, and the increasing popularity of the industry can be gauged by the way it is expanding to every nook and cranny of the digital ecosystem from brand campaign to political campaign.

Budget allocation& engagement: Upward trend continues The survey indicates that the influencer marketing industry is set to grab a bigger chunk of budget allocation and campaign engagement in 2019.

Key Points:

76% marketers/strategists are of the view that the influencer marketing budget in 2019 will remain the same compared to last year or increase
60% marketers/strategists opined that their influencer marketing campaign will start from a minimum of 5 lacs and will go beyond 25 lacs on the higher side with more marketers/strategists opting for the latter
69% marketers/strategists are clear that social influencers will be engaged more during launches in 2019 61% said they will engage influencers to build and enhance reputation
40% are of the view that 2019 will also see more engagement of influencers to promote and distribute content In terms of the content format influencers can help leverage as per the India Influence Report 2019,
55% marketers/strategists are convinced that reviews and Designing a creative influencer marketing campaign is not an easy task and its effectiveness does not necessarily depend on the strategy.

There are certain challenges that need to be kept in mind while running an influencer marketing campaign. As per the report, the top three things that need to be taken into consideration for a successful campaign are:
videos content(YT, IGTV etc.) will be the most effective channels while 50% are of the view that Instagram will also remain an effective platform

Challenges to look out for in 2019 : 65% also agrees that the most important thing is to choose the right influencer with image and identity that is in line with the brand's/party's messaging and ideology

The second thing to look should be a credible number of followers who recognises and identifies with the influencer's image. 65% marketers/strategists say that the authenticity of influencer should be determined 56% says that for any campaign to be successful the effectiveness of the campaign should be measured properly

About Zefmo Zefmo, a fusion of Zephyr and Movement, stands for changing the course of the winds of influence - in the right direction. We are a marketplace connecting over 40,000 social influencers with brands of all sizes and strategists across industries. With Zefmo, influencers get to do what they love, try new products and create stories around the brands that they live and breathe while getting rewarded.

Brands and organisations, on the other hand, get influential content and real-life stories that drive brand awareness, build buzz, increase purchase intent, building brand image and trend with audiences/consumers through creative content they trust, especially in tier-two and tier-three cities across India. In over 25 categories, thousands of influencers and hundreds of brands and strategists rely on Zefmo to spread their message in the digital universe.


* Davis Kangjam wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is Strategy and Communications of Zefmo and can be reached at ww.zefmo.com
This article was webcasted on June 15, 2019.



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