Influencer marketing seems to be the hot buzzword at the moment. But how do you define it and why is it such a trend now? We asked our friends at Pulse Advertising, based in Hamburg and New York, to give us some background.

The idea for Pulse Advertising came when the founders Christoph Kastenholz and Lara Daniel were promoting their fashion label Noemii, and were looking for creative ways to market online. They found that their highest sales came after social media personalities posted about the brand, and they realized that this method of marketing was widely ignored. They have since the birth of Pulse launched successful campaigns for brands such as HTC, Protein World and German watchmakers Kapten and Son.

− Influencer Marketing is basically the collaboration of popular social media personalities with brands that they hold in high regard. It is a new take on word of mouth, the oldest form of advertising, where well-known individuals give their personal opinion and review a product.

According to the people at Pulse, influencer marketing is becoming extremely popular for two main reasons.

− The first is the amount of trust that people have for other people’s opinions. We are more likely to trust a recommendation by an individual we admire than one from a brand. The second reason is the growth of ad-disabling products. People are tired of having advertising interrupting them. It is estimated that over 600 million people use adblock technologies, and this figure is growing every year.
With consumers subscribing to television services without commercials, such as Netflix, it is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to effectively market digitally to consumers. Because of this, companies are turning to influencers whose posts are not ads and thus are not blocked.

− Influencers are extremely popular on their various social media platforms, and single posts can reach more than 60 million people. This type of marketing is unmatched in reach, cost, and effectiveness.

Is influencer marketing only for big brands or is it relevant for small businesses too?

− While influencer marketing increases sales for big brands, it is also a great way for small businesses to boost the awareness, credibility, and overall sales of their brand. When consumers see that a product or service is used by a popular influencer, it immediately improves the brand’s image in the mind of consumers. These influencers are looked to for advice by their followers, and if a small business is recommended, this can have a tremendous impact on consumer perception.

Where do you think influencer marketing is heading?

− We believe that influencer marketing will change the advertising industry. It will continue to grow rapidly, especially once more studies are conducted that can reveal a definitive return on a campaign. The largest issue facing influencer marketers is convincing brands of the benefits associated with using this form of marketing. Adblock technologies are continually being improved which makes it even more difficult for digital marketing campaigns to be successful. But the reach of influencers is continually growing, and with the current trends, we believe it is clear that influencer marketing is a form of advertising that will make many traditional advertising methods obsolete in the future.