The number of influencer campaigns is growing exponentially, but indicators of notoriety and efficiency are decreasing.
For 11 years, InfluenceMe powered by Starcom has been the first and only study of the communication industry in Romania, documenting the evolution of influencer marketing from a holistic perspective. Based on a complex methodology, the study brings together both a quantitative perspective on the phenomenon and the qualitative refinement of observations with potential for insights.
InfluenceMe 2023 is undoubtedly the most laborious edition of the study to date, as it is based on the analysis of over a hundred influencer marketing campaigns. The phenomenon of influence becomes even more complex as market maturity brings new consumer demands. There are over 30,000 creative executions with influencers – whether we refer to stories, static posts, or reels – just in the first half of the year. In this dynamic, it is very difficult for brands to be visible through the campaigns they initiate. And it is even more difficult to be memorable without a message that sets them apart in the ‘background noise’.
In broad terms, the study’s figures show that the number of campaigns has increased, but their notoriety has substantially decreased. A decrease is also recorded in highly valuable brand indicators, showing brand health and the likelihood of a specific brand being considered and purchased. However, there are exceptions, and these are the campaigns with influencers that had a distinct creative message, a consistent strategy, or provided a useful social approach.
The InfluenceMe 2023 study offers a holistic approach to the advertising and marketing market, analyzing all categories of interest. Additionally, its complex methodology allows for the generation of dedicated reports based on brand, industry, or communication objective. At the macro level, the main conclusions of the study are as follows:
The number of influencer marketing campaigns is growing exponentially, but attributes such as “notoriety” and “purchase intent” are decreasing.
Year after year, we observe that it is becoming increasingly difficult for urban internet users to remember influencer campaigns. This affects other indicators in the purchase funnel, such as stimulating curiosity, consideration, and purchase intent. Therefore, it is essential to have a strategy behind influencer marketing campaigns, a message backed by values and communication consistency. It is not enough for brands to merely check the influencer marketing component; what’s more important is how they decide to communicate through influencers.
The role of the influencer in the perception of internet users:
Urban internet users continue to state that the role of an influencer is to inspire, promote a healthy lifestyle, and educate. A particular aspect of this year is the acute need for involvement in the civic and social areas. From the consumer’s perspective, civic spirit becomes a duty that the influencer must have.
Factors determining a successful campaign:
In 2023, campaigns with the best results across the entire purchase funnel are those based on a creative concept, a relevant story, or those presenting a product or benefit in a new, useful manner for the community. The campaigns that achieved the highest notoriety were those that had support on other media channels (e.g., TV, Outdoor, Radio) and had a strong and consistent message.
Campaigns that stimulated curiosity were mainly in the beauty, gadgets (product launch), FMCG Delivery (testimonial campaign) categories, and campaigns in the medical services domain.
Campaigns with influencers that achieved above-average consideration remain those that used a specific communication context – for example, festivals. Many campaigns that communicated a limited offer or an immediate benefit to the customer also scored high on this indicator.
Campaigns that drive consumers to purchase the product/service in 2023 are those with higher media exposure. These campaigns have consistency and continuity so that the campaign message is internalized and quantified through a subsequent purchase. Campaigns that focus on personal stories and the usefulness of the influencer’s content for their community also remained at the top.
Brand loyalty is built through influencer campaigns that manage to create emotional connections between the brand and the consumer. According to the analysis, this happens when campaigns emphasize brand values, focusing on the passions and interests of consumers. Also, the alignment between the brand and the influencer/celebrity representing it is very important.
Brand relevance increases through influencer campaigns that have consistency and continuity in the message. These are campaigns that translate certain product benefits through creative concepts or campaigns that provide a functional or emotional benefit to the influencer’s community.
Podcasts represent one of the most beloved formats and a generous space for brands to tell their story through relevant content, not just through a simple product exposure. In this year’s study, we observe a growing popularity of podcasts, especially among the 35+ age group. Interview-type podcasts (face to face) are preferred by urban internet users.
“This year, the InfluenceMe study has become more complex than ever, due to the expansion of the number of tested executions and the comparative analysis of results from the last 5 years. In a world flooded with influence, we have observed that the emphasis must be on authenticity, relevance, and concrete benefits for the community, and that it is not enough to be just a top investor in influencer marketing. Through a strong and context-adapted message, influencers can become true pillars of effective communication.” – Andreea Zanfir – Head of Consumer Insights, Starcom Romania.
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