Digiday+ Research: Influencer marketing falls on uneven ground between ad spend, confidence

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

There’s no escaping social media for brands and agencies planning their marketing budgets. But, just as there are discrepancies between how these groups map out their ad spend on social media, there is also a gap between how much brands and agencies spend on influencers versus how confident they are in the success of influencer marketing, according to Digiday+ Research.

Digiday conducted surveys with 266 brand and agency professionals in the first and third quarters of this year, and found that brands and agencies are aligned on how much they spend on influencer marketing and how confident they are that influencers drive successful marketing. However, both groups had a significant gap between that spend and confidence.

In other words, brands and agencies aren’t spending a lot on influencers, even though they are confident in the success of influencer marketing. Digiday’s surveys found that only 11% of brand pros said in Q3 that they spend a large or very large portion of their marketing budgets on influencers, up only slightly from 8% in Q1. Meanwhile, 28% said they are confident or very confident that influencers drive marketing success in both Q1 and Q3.

Agencies showed a slight gain in their confidence in influencer marketing between Q1 and Q3, but, curiously, a very slight loss in marketing spend. In Q3, only 8% of agency pros told Digiday their clients spend a large or very large share of their budgets on influencer marketing, down from 10% in Q1. But the percentage of agency respondents who said they are confident or very confident that influencers drive marketing success for their clients rose to 30% in Q3 from 22% in Q1.

Digiday’s surveys found, though, that influencer marketing is gaining slightly in share of budget, even if it’s not a large share. More than a third (38%) of brand pros said in Q1 that they don’t allocate any of their budget toward influencer marketing, a percentage that fell to just over a quarter (28%). Agency pros saw a similar change from Q1 to Q3: 32% of agency respondents to Digiday’s Q1 survey said they don’t spend at all on influencer marketing, compared with 21% in Q3.

Confidence, on the other hand, has remained relatively stable since the beginning of the year, Digiday’s surveys found, with agencies making only a slight gain in whether they’re confident that influencers drive marketing success for their clients. Twenty-one percent of brand pros said they are not confident at all that influencers drive marketing success (meaning that 79% of brands are at least slightly confident in influencer marketing), compared with 20% of brand pros who said they have no confidence in influencers in Q1. Meanwhile, the percentage of agency pros who said they aren’t confident at all in the success of influencer marketing fell slightly to 18% in Q3, compared with 24% in Q1.

See more Digiday+ Research on brand and agency marketing spend versus their confidence that the following channels drive marketing success:


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