The Switch from Celebrity to Blogger
In the last few years we have witnessed a large number of brands switch from celebrity endorsed ads to blogger recommendations. In contrast to your adonis-like celebrity endorsing everything from shampoo to cat food and representing anything but the average person you have the blogger, a relatable influencer who you feel you’ve known for years. You follow a blogger’s journey, their ups and downs, where they are off on holiday, what shade of lipstick they put on this morning and most importantly, what they eat for breakfast.
The Blogger’s Influence
The blogger’s selling point is their relatability. A follower’s investment into a blogger’s life provides a platform that allows brands to collaborate with influencers in order to advertise their products. Instead of the traditional celebrity ad, the blogger can provide us with reviews of products and (most of the time) honest opinions. Wanting to protect their brand, influencers are often selective as to what brands they work with, ditching the opportunity to ‘cash in’ in order to create good quality content.
Social Media Advertising
The same can be said for the brand, the chance to work with an influencer who will promote their brand and embodies their values allows consumers to feel well informed, and therefore more likely to purchase goods. With ad blockers and streaming services, online advertising has now become an effective way for brands to get their products and services seen. Social media is the perfect tool for a brand to reach consumers and posting frequently allows a brand to stay current and engaged with their audience. Collaborating with an influencer who will post on social media about your products means that not only the brand’s followers are informed about products and new launches, but also the influencer’s followers, creating a new audience altogether.
With the rise of online advertising and sponsored blog posts it has become necessary for both influencers and brands to disclose when a post or video is a paid for advertorial. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority have stated that influencers should not endorse products or write reviews that display bias without stating that the post is an ad. Influencers that post these reviews without stating them as ads lose confidence in their followers. Followers are left with the feeling of being lied to by both influencers and brands and the relatable relationship between the influencer and is lost. YouTube’s recently updated policy on demonetizing posts has also lead to backlash amongst the creator community. Whilst this process has always occurred in regards to videos that YouTube deem to be ‘unfriendly’ for users, it is only recently that creators have begun to be notified of this. For many influencers their argument is that their creativity is being controlled and their freedom to say what they like or create certain content is now under pressure to be 100% user friendly.
Looking To The Future
So where does that leave the future of blogging and online content? The industry is in no doubt becoming far more regulated, but with this the industry is also becoming more professional. Whereas before influencer marketing could be a cost-effective way of advertising for brands, unlike perhaps celebrity ads, big name bloggers are now able to charge more for posts. For influencers new opportunities have arisen and they are able to transform their hobby of blogging or creating videos into their business. Alongside the big name bloggers, micro influencers are beginning to be able to charge for their time and posts. The level of a blogger’s value is now measured on their outreach and influence, the more involved their followers are in their social media channels leads to greater potential for a brand to collaborate and for both the blogger and the brand to see success.