New Influence
New Influence
Nov 19, 2018
The current state of influencer marketing with Scott Guthrie
Play • 35 min
Scott Guthrie is a former management consultant and digital director at global PR agency Ketchum specialising in influencer relations. Today he works with brands, agencies and platforms to generate meaningful results from smarter influencer marketing decisions. Scott offers best practice advice and implementation across the entire influencer marketing workflow. His blog sabguthrie.info has been designated a top 10 PR industry blog by Vuelio. When it comes to the growing field of influencer marketing and relations there is no one more clued up on the subject. Podcast transcription. Stephen Davies: Scott, welcome to the podcast. Scott Guthrie: Well that was a glowing introduction. Thank you very much. I hope you're recording this so I can play it back to my mum. SD. It's a pleasure. We'll get straight into it. In terms of the influencer marketing landscape, can you give us a topline overview of the current state of influencer marketing and where we're heading? SG: We're at an inflexion point. For the last three or four year, influencer marketing has enjoyed unprecedented growth. Last year, as a term, 'influencer marketing' was googled more than 'social media marketing' and the industry is forecast to be worth as much as $10bn by 2020. But there's a change in mood in the media in how it portrays influencer marketing. There have been years and years of column inches dedicated to praising influencer marketing but 'dog bites man' isn't a story but 'man bites dog' is a story and so increasingly influencer marketing is being shown as a bad actor. More and more stories are about influencer marketing fraud. Influencers failing to mark their posts as advertisements.  There's a conflation of terms with influencer advertising being used in the same breath as influencer marketing. Where's the industry heading? I think we've reached this point of having to improve it. We need to, as communicators, better plan and better measure campaign success. With increased influencer marketing spend there's a greater need to demonstrate return on investment. SD: Great. I think you're right, I think we are at an inflexion point as you rightly said and we're going through an era now where there is lots of negativity about influencer marketing. There are lots of negative articles in terms of whether it's to do with fraud or ethics or whether it's to do with actual return on investment in influencer marketing. People say we're very much still in the 'wild west' phase of influencer marketing and when you think about it agencies have been engaging with influencers for a long time whether that's a journalist or an analyst or a key opinion leader in healthcare. But this relatively new idea of brands engaging with everyday people who just happen to build up an influence through these social media platforms is still relatively new. Would you agree that we're in this wild west phase where everything is still up in the air and essentially everything is still up for grabs? SG: There has been unprecedented growth. I think with all of these nascent industries that experience these wonderful growth spurts there's always going to be growing pains as well. I think later in the conversation we're going to talk about Luka Sabbat and whether that shows whether we're still in the nascent phase or whether we're growing up. There's a lot of column inches this year that have been devoted to influencer fraud for instance and influencer fraud, for sure, is a thing. One in eight Instagram influencers in the UK has shown signs of having bought fake followers according to a Campaigndeus report; one in four influencers have shown signs of having bought fake engagement according to Social Chain. Influencer DB, an influencer marketing platform, puts the cost of influencer fraud at $500 million a year. Yeah, it's clearly a thing but I would sound a note of caution though from mainstream media from becoming too pious about this fraud.
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