GROW­ING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS

Why in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing on so­cial plat­forms is gain­ing trac­tion in the coun­try.

Business Today - - THE BUZZ - By De­vika Singh Il­lus­tra­tion by Raj Verma

INthe late 2000s, blog­ging was a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity on the In­ter­net. Most closet writ­ers tried their hands at it, and brands tried to tap it to pro­mote their prod­ucts and ser­vices. Per­haps it was the first in­stance of in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing. Now blogs are giv­ing way to videos and im­ages on so­cial me­dia, and in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing has gone from strength to strength. Com­pa­nies and brands, which have been wor­ried about the dwindling reach on so­cial plat­forms, have once again started en­gag­ing with in­flu­encers.

A joint sur­vey by the In­ter­net and Mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia (IAMAI) and dig­i­tal con­tent de­sign com­pany YAAP has found that go­ing ahead, seven out of 10 mar­keters in In­dia plan to in­crease their in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing bud­gets. Mar­keters have also re­alised that to­day’s con­sumers pre­fer word of mouth over other pro­mo­tional cam­paigns. There­fore, com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly ex­plor­ing in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing to en­gage their tar­get au­di­ence.

A while ago, in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing ac­counted for a very small por­tion of over­all dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing bud­get – some­times as low as 1-2 per cent. How­ever, brands are now al­lo­cat­ing as much as 5-10 per cent for tap­ping in­flu­encers, ex­perts say.

Ear­lier, Twit­ter used to be the pre­ferred plat­form for such pro­mo­tion, but the emer­gence of vis­ual con­tent plat­forms has led to the pop­u­lar­ity of in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing. “More and more peo­ple are com­ing to plat­forms like In­sta­gram and Tiktok (formerly known as Mu­si­cally), and brands want to reach out to new con­sumers there,” says San­jay Va­sudeva, FounderCEO of Delhi-based in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing firm Buz­zOne.

The pop­u­lar­ity of videos has also led to this trend, as many video blog­gers have huge fol­low­ings and they are of­ten tapped for pro­mo­tional videos and brand in­te­gra­tions. “Video is rul­ing the mar­ket. It is rul­ing the en­tire dig­i­tal ecosys­tem, and with an in­flu­encer in it, the video sends a strong mes­sage,” says Priyanka Shah, Se­nior Di­rec­tor (Mo­bile) at Gur­gaon-based dig­i­tal agency Iso­bar.

A high level of en­gage­ment is an­other rea­son why brands are keen to pur­sue it. Ac­cord­ing to the hus­band-wife duo Deepak and Payal Sakhuja, Co-founders of Ben­galuru-based in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing firm Rip­ple Links, one of their in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing cam­paigns for a smart­phone brand saw 50 mil­lion-plus en­gage­ments. “Be it a prod­uct launch or any other cam­paign, in­flu­encers are now asked to take part and that, too, in big num­bers. Every­body has tested this model and re­alised that it needs to be done at scale,” says Payal.

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