Let’s be practical: people in the Western world have changed their normal reading habits to more digital means many years ago and marketing followed its footsteps. And, with everything that technology is capable of, marketing changed; flooding the internet with advertisements “supposedly” personalized, targeted, etc. etc. etc. bla, bla, bla… The problem is that marketing and media have not changed the paradigm of unidirectional broadcasting and, the massification associated to technology caused a saturation, that today very few individuals want to be bothered with the (already called) traditional digital advertising: auto play videos, banners, pop-ups, etc.
If in the traditional platform (broadcasting) there is still some tolerance for advertising, in the digital platform the typical behaviour includes “Search” or “Social” with little tolerance for interruptions. In other words, we look for what entertains us and what we want to see, listen and learn (“search” mode) or, what we want to know about our friends, known acquaintances and any individual that for some reason we decided to follow (“social” mode).
These behaviours have caused the surge of two big movements called “ad-killers”, with devastating effects on the traditional models of digital publicity, these include “Ad-blockers” and “Bots”. “Ad-blocks” are self-explanatory and are already present in half of the consumers. They simply block most ads when an individual surfs through the web. The “Bots”, a more complex concept, involves web crawlers that through a simulation of the human behaviour generate clicks, likes and loves in advertisements, artificially boosting its reach and causing millions of dollars of damages to the advertising industry. It is believed that half of the views in paid advertisements are simulated by “bots.”
In the midst of this “storm” there is another phenomenon occurring. Millions of people, with active presence in social networks, are starting to have a digital influence much bigger than the natural, organic physical influence, simply due to the fact that, each and every one of us present in any social network has an active audience. These individuals talk about the brands, they like the brands, use products from those brands, are photographed and take “selfies” using those products, and brands start to comprehend that organically, they can also promote their products.
Firstly, celebrities (musicians, actors, TV hosts, etc.) who, through their popularity, created a legion of fans, rapidly initiated the process of monetization of that audience through the brands. Later, athletes, journalists and specialized editors with large audiences followed celebrity’s footsteps. Specialized bloggers, “youtubers” (or Vloggers), “intagramers” and “twitters” later followed.
The processes started to change with the appearance of celebrities coming from the digital world (Justin Bieber is the best example of the digital native celebrity). Another phenomenon starts to rise: the acknowledgement of many influencers, unpaid, with smaller audiences, but together can accomplish a lot. Traditional word-of-mouth marketing has also gone digital and any person with more than 5000 followers, in any relevant social network, is an influencer, very similar to Uber or AirBnB of marketing, or marketing led by consumer.
It is here that the “non-paid influencer marketing” or the “everyday influencer” occurs. They are millions of micro-influencers, in areas of distinct specialties, with segmented and very involved audiences: it is called the long tail of influential marketing. Until very recently they could not be engaged because, there were no profitable ways of involving them simultaneously in campaigns of a certain dimension with short timeframes.
Once again, technology changes everything: through powerful technological platforms like youzz, of Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) or Influencer Marketing Automation (IMA), they can automatize the engagement with 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 micro influencers, instead of paying 20/30 celebrities whose credibility may be questioned.
What is the Micro-Influencer? He is the most credible of the influencers. He is the close, trustworthy friend of the average consumer. Individually, he might not be the one that reaches the “masses”, but he is the one who generates sales for being credible and close. If a brand wants to create an experimental campaign of its product for 5000 influencers, they can easily multiply that digital audience by an average superior to 1,500 people, end result? A reach of 7,5 million “impacts”. All this will at a much cheaper price than purchasing the top of Cristiano Ronaldo’s facebook page, who the “organic reach”, with more than 150 million followers, is identical (more or less 5%). Who really believes that Ronaldo truly uses the products he recommends?