start-ups Articles


How Influencer Marketing is Displacing Online Ads

... Christine Wilson/MtoM:

It’s a dirty little secret that no one in marketing wants to admit: we all hate traditional digital ads.

Think about it. When was the last time you were killing a few minutes online and a banner ad intrigued you so much that you thought, “Wow! This is fantastic. I can’t wait to click through to learn more!” Actually, has that ever happened?

Ad Overload

You, me and everyone else are bombarded with advertisements all day long, and frankly, it’s annoying. The average person living in a city sees up to 5,000 ads every single day, so it’s no wonder that most of us are at capacity. At best, we tune out pesky ads (the click-through rate of display ads is only 0.04%, after all), but at worst, we hold a grudge against the brands shouting their message at us over and over.

We the people of the Internet are collectively saying, “Enough is enough” to online ads. Consumers are using ad blocking tools at rapidly increasing rates:

  • 47% of online consumers are using ad blocking software (an increase of 70% from last year)
  • In the last three years, Internet users who use ad blocking tools have increased from 40 million users to more than 200 million users
  • Apple is even building an ad block for their OS

What’s Next for Marketing

So what’s a smart marketer to do? It would be foolishly to keep pumping money into traditional online ads when your audience clearly doesn’t want them. It’s time for us to change the way we think about connecting with our audience.

Enter influencer marketing. This is a new and growing type of marketing that harnesses the power of top bloggers or social media influencers to reach consumers more directly and personally. In short, you partner with brand ambassadors in a specific area with a loyal following. They create original and engaging content, and they share it with their extensive networks, creating genuine interest among your core audience.

Word of mouth has always been an effective way to get the word out about your brand, but using online influencers opens up far more opportunities. According to a McKinsey study, influencer marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising and sparks a 37% higher retention rate.

Influencer marketing is a crazy thought that turns traditional advertising on its head and brings up a lot of big questions.

What if, instead of wearing people down with ads and trying to convince them to buy what we’re selling, we actually created something that interests, entertains or educates them? What if we abandoned the hard sell and focused on making content our audience finds helpful or relevant? What if we gave people a reason to trust and value us?

This is exactly what influencer marketing does, and this is the direction we all must go in if we want to thrive.

Instead of fighting for your audience’s attention, you earn it. You partner with online influencers who are the right fit for who you’re trying to reach, and together you create honest, authentic content that clicks with consumers.

The digital ads of the past are dying, but influencer marketing is only just getting started.


Relevant For

Digital Marketing