Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly common, for lots of good reasons. Using well-known, trusted internet celebrities to spread the word about your brand is a highly effective marketing tool.
For B2B companies, influencer marketing has a big role to play. It can help you reach large numbers of potential customers via an account they already know and trust.
This type of marketing has exploded in recent years. In this article, we’ll take a look at some B2B influencer marketing stats for 2020, and what they mean for businesses and marketers.
1. Influencer spending in 2019 was the highest of all channels, sky-rocketing 70.5% year-on-year and reaching $2.6 billion in the U.S. alone (Source)
This shows us that influencer marketing is quickly becoming an indispensable part of doing business. It’s clearly more than just a short-lived trend, and looks set to become a permanent part of the marketing landscape.
Companies of all shapes and sizes are scrambling to invest in influencers, and others would do well to pay attention. Influencers represent an increasingly relevant and valuable form of marketing that belongs in any forward-thinking strategy.
2. 61% of marketers agree that it’s difficult to find the right influencers for a campaign (Source)
Finding exactly the right influencer to amplify your brand’s voice can be tough. There’s a lot to choose from, and it’s an area where subtlety and precision count for a lot. If your tone is off by just a little bit, it could really hamper your results.
Here are some ways to make sure you find the right influencer for your campaign:
- Comb social media for accounts with:
- a large reach,
- relevance to your brand
- lots of engagement
- Reach out personally using their preferred channel
- Be authentic and build a relationship; show them what’s in it for them
Finding a good match can take some work, but it’s worth forging a relationship with the right influencers to ensure your messaging is on point and perfectly targeted.
3. 89% of marketers say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels (Source)
The vast majority of marketers agree that influencer marketing is effective and generates real results.
But what makes this channel so powerful?
- It’s a quick route to trust and credibility. People trust the influencers they follow and place high importance on their opinion.
- You can pinpoint the exact market you want to reach. Pretty much every niche — no matter how specific — will have its influencers.
- It allows you to spread the word about your brand across multiple channels, harnessing the power of accounts that already have a large following
4. 51% of millennials frequently try new products because an influencer has recommended them (Source)
There’s a clear lesson behind this B2B influencer marketing stat — it’s a young market.
Millennial and Gen Z customers are far more likely to follow influencers and pay attention to their content compared to older generations. It’s a huge shift, and should inform a lot of your marketing.
The channels matter, too. More than 80% of Instagram users are under the age of 45, and most of them were under 34. If you want to reach a young market, this is where to go.
B2B might not seem like the best immediate candidate for targeting young people. After all, how many 20-year-olds are making decisions for their companies?
However, plenty of B2B buyers are in their twenties and thirties, and — more importantly — today’s young people are tomorrow’s business leaders.
Investing in influencer marketing now is laying the foundations for a prosperous future.
5. 70 percent of consumers follow at least one influencer from a country other than their own (Source)
This tells us that influencer marketing is a global phenomenon. It’s an international market where nationality seems to matter little — like many internet-based movements it ignores borders.
That makes it a useful tool for interacting with customers outside your own region. People thousands of miles away who have never heard of your brand can learn about it through their favourite influencer.
6. Only 14% of influencers are currently fully compliant with FTC/CMA (Competition Markets Authority) UK guidelines (Source)
This stat highlights a concerning trend in the digital world — influencer fraud. Huge numbers of influencers are failing to comply with regulations, and this is bad news for them and bad news for marketers who collaborate with them.
One of the most common examples of influencer fraud involves buying followers, a process where influencers simply pay for accounts to follow them instead of organically building up a following.
This has a number of negative side effects. The paid-for followers aren’t properly engaged with the account — in fact, most of them will be bots or inactive accounts. If you work with these influencers, the audience you’re paying to reach isn’t even real.
Here are some ways to avoid getting hoodwinked by fraudulent influencers:
- Look beyond just engagement. Likes and follows are meaningless on their own, as they’re easy to automate.
- Build a relationship with influencers before reaching out. Follow them, observe how they interact with their followers, and get to know them on a personal level.
- Focus on long-term metrics and look at how influencer accounts evolve over time. Be aware of suspicious jumps in follower count.
- Look out for red flags like generic or odd-looking bot comments and a poor engagement-follower ratio
- If needed, ask for proof that your influencer’s followers are real people and not paid for
7. 36% of marketers use micro-influencers (Source)
This is compared to just 30% that use high-tier or celebrity influencers.
So what’s the difference? A micro-influencer is defined (roughly) as someone with less than 30,000 followers but still enough to make an impact.
So why are businesses opting to work with these accounts over big-time celebrities with millions of followers? Are they just cheaper?
No, not really — in fact, the difference between what marketers are typically prepared to spend on micro-influencers ($30,132) and high-tier influencers ($39,577) is pretty small.
The real reason micro-influencers are so popular is that they appeal to the masses. Someone with 25,000 followers is still perceived as normal and relatable, someone the average person can connect with much more than a global A-list celebrity.
And this translates into big results. Micro-influencers have seven times more engagement with their followers compared to accounts with large followings.
This is one of the interesting quirks of influencer marketing — engagement is actually often better with lower numbers of followers.
On top of being more relatable, micro-influencers also command more niche markets, where they have a small pool of engaged and devoted followers as opposed to millions of mostly indifferent ones (like you’d see with a movie star).
It’s a more intimate relationship that lends itself well to collaboration and trust-based marketing.
8. 57% of marketers say influencer content outperforms their own brand content (Source)
This statistic probably isn’t all that shocking when we dig into the reasons.
Influencers are specialists in their field (social media engagement) and have spent years honing the skills and network needed to dominate here. It’s not surprising that they’re better at this than generalist marketing teams of businesses.
In addition to this, influencers have a special relationship with their followers. It’s built on hard-won trust and mutual understanding, and it’s more personal and intimate than what most brands can build with their audience.
Ultimately, influencers are established presences in their space and can provide access to a market and a dynamic that businesses will be forever locked out of.
9. 89 percent of marketers said that Instagram was important for their influencer marketing strategy (Source)
Instagram is the number one choice when it comes to influencer marketing.
It’s often considered more of a B2C platform, but that’s not the case. In fact, Instagram produces 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn for B2B brands.
Here’s how B2B marketers can use Instagram effectively for influencer marketing:
- Clearly establish goals and outline a strategy beforehand
- Use hashtags wisely and get familiar with current trends
- Create valuable and unique content
- Engage often with your followers, influencers, and other brands
- Use a lot of data in your posts and images
10. Top three goals of influencer marketing are increasing brand awareness (85%), reaching new audiences (71%), and generating sales / conversions (64%) (Source)
Influencer marketing is all about getting your brand in front of people.
It can contribute to sales and conversions — very well in some cases — but its main function is growing your presence, and most marketers agree on that, as this b2b influencer marketing stat shows.
This should inform your goals and KPIs, allowing you to set productive and realistic targets about what you want to achieve with your influencers.
The gains of influencer marketing aren’t as directly measurable as, say, an email campaign or landing page, but over time they’re still very important.
Here are some things to track, which can give an indication of how well your influencer marketing is working:
- Traffic to your social pages and website
- Social media activity and mentions
- Surveys and questionnaires
11. In a recent survey, 46.5% of influencers said they worked with the same brand 2-4 times and 24.1% worked with the same brand more than 5 times (Source)
This stat shows us that building solid relationships with influencers can be really rewarding. If an influencer likes you and had a pleasant experience working with you (and vice versa) it can sow the seeds for a long and productive relationship.
Focus on delivering mutual value, reaching out to influencers who are well-suited to your products, and communicating clearly and regularly.
An influencer relationship is a business relationship — if you can each generate results for the other then it will likely last a long time.
12. 17% of companies will spend over half their marketing budget on influencer marketing (Source)
That’s not an insignificant percentage. What’s more, more than a quarter of respondents said they plan to spend more than 40% on this.
It’s clear that influencer marketing is highly valued and has a special place in the budgets of many B2B companies.
As time goes on, social media may well continue to grow in significance and more businesses will realize the valuable role influencers can play. Can you afford not to use it?
13. The most valuable type of influencer content, according to B2B buyers, was case studies (Source)
Case studies are a great way to show what your company can do, illustrated with real life statistics and examples.
When combined with a trusted influencer, this creates a level of credibility that’s hard to argue with, helping push undecided followers across the finish line to becoming a customer.
Here’s how to create great case studies:
- Interview lots of past customers in detail. Find out what specific problems they had before you showed up, how you helped them, and what they liked most.
- Make the customer the main character of your case study, with your business playing a supporting role.
- Weave the facts into a compelling narrative structure with a clear beginning, middle, and end
- Use lots of hard data and be specific. Highlight exactly what improved and quantify it with before and after numbers.
Influencer marketing is here to stay. As the new decade goes on, B2B companies will likely turn to influencers more and more, harnessing this new digital ecosystem to reach their target audience and grow the presence of their brand.
To find out how we can help you use influencer marketing to great effect, get in touch.