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Influencer Marketing Trending Up for 2019

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According to Am Golhar, founder of Abstract PR, there are an estimated 1.5 million influencers in the digital communication world, and approximately 71% of Generation Z’s digital users have a close relationship with at least one influencer. With Instagram leading the influencer journey, many marketers are lamenting the importance of increasing marketing spend on influencing customers via social media platforms.

Launched in 2010, Instagram continues to grow at a remarkable pace. Just a little moret han 7 years of age, the visual social media platform has surpassed 800 million monthly users and is not only attracting individual social conversations but is proving its worthiness to marketers looking to grow brand awareness and showcase products. With 51 percent of users indicating that they visit the site daily and 70 percent using the platform to search brands, influencer marketing is proving itself as an authentic method to connect with potential customers. Influencer marketing content is delivering an 11 times higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional forms of digital marketing.

Generation Z consumers are proving to be much more active and reactive to social media outlets like YouTube and Instagram than former generations. Businesses need to establish an effective and targeted strategy to engage with this new generation of consumers in order to grab their share of the next big consumer market. In the coming year, influencers will continue to increase their impact on marketing efforts for businesses of all sizes. Participants will continue to focus efforts on specific geographical market segments with targeted and quality content.

The trend in 2019 will require an even greater command for authenticity and transparency as the initial exuberance of the new shiny marketing tool meets with the greater reality across all marketing channels.  Consumers say they trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions, but some of that trust is being worn away by paid influencers who fail to make important financial disclosures that exist between their content and the brands they are reviewing. 52% are expressing distaste for repetitive advertising offers that are being pitched this holiday season by influencers.  With nearly 54% of consumers indicating “reliability” concerns about some current influencer content, User Generated Content (UGC) is set to receive more attention from marketers in the year ahead. Joe Rohrlich, from Bazaarvoice says, “Today’s consumers are looking to corroborate what they see or hear in one place with the information they find elsewhere.”

Social media influencer marketing is a natural technological segue from the long tested and tried method of “word of mouth” advertising. The former one to one approach to connecting with an expanding audience is being amplified by the internet’s “one to many” social media environment. In a global survey of consumers, Nielsen found that ”83% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family over other forms of advertising.”  In 2019 successful brands will find a way to utilize this expansive amount of customer content.

To learn how Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) can help refine and improve your influencer marketing strategy, call 678-686-1125 today.

Patience Was Once Seen as a Virtue; Today Everything Has to Happen Now!

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Remember when getting to a knocked door in a minute was a sufficient response time; when answering the phone before the third ring was once seen as a positive attribute to the caller; when a 60-second traffic light didn’t frustrate or anger even the most demanding among us; or a 10-second webpage load time was tolerated as reasonable? As with many standards of performance, the benchmark for “acceptable” has been moving ahead in tandem with the speed of technology. Once upon a time patience was seen as a virtue; today everything has to happen now!

Internet users have no patience for websites that they perceive are failing to meet the newest standard of timely performance. In a study by Akamai, about half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. Approximately 40% of all internet users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load; 70% of those internet visitors who think your website speed is too slow won’t return to the website again and 44% of them will pass the bad performance information on to others who may use your site.  Remember the importance of “word of mouth?” Well now it is the “Influencers” that may sink a poorly-performing website. With website speeds increasing 22 percent every year in the competitive digital world, it is imperative that a focused and ongoing effort be made to maintain website performance.

Improving the slow speed of a website, while daunting to those of us who are easily intimidated by technology terms and back-end functions, can be fairly easy to diagnose and correct with routine application of a few performance enhancing fundamentals.

Most website requirements were defined and established when the site was initially developed and designed. The website hosting plan selected when the site was first launched, while adequate at the time, may not meet the demands of current traffic. Review and update your hosting plan to ensure it meets current usage needs.

Caching, the storing of commonly used CSS, images, HTML documents, and media files, when enabled will result in faster access to data and will lead to a more rewarding experience of faster load times for repeat visitors. However, first-time visitors will not see the benefit of caching to their load time experience.

For the majority of websites, images make up more than half of a website’s pages. Clearly the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is still relevant in the digital communications era. Broken URL source links and the choice of image file types can impact the performance of a website. The most common and versatile file type is JPG. This popular file type can be saved in a wide range of qualities between low and high and performs well with vibrant images of products. When presenting graphics with heavier textual elements or transparent backgrounds, PNG file types perform best. GIF files should be considered when displaying a brief visual animation or mini video clip. Regardless of the file type, editing the image to optimize its performance is important at the outset, and reducing the overall number of images will have a positive effect on response times. This is a place where “less is more” is good advice to be taken.

According to Yahoo, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requires 80 percent of a website’s load time. Combining CSS/JS Files into one larger file may help your load times in the long run. Reducing the size a large number of images and eliminating distracting images that don’t correspond to your written content will enhance overall performance. Users expect web pages to load fast, and they won’t stick around if they don’t.

A professional web developer and designer can offer more options to improve the speed and performance of an ailing website. To learn how Junction Creative Solutions’ (Junction) team can implement performance enhancements to your website, call 678-686-1125.

Marketing that Gets Your Customers to Tell Your Story

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Once the sole purview of movie stars, sports heroes and celebrities, product endorsements and sponsorships are quickly becoming an endeavor for many entrepreneurially spirited individuals from across the spectrum of society.  While different than traditional product endorsements, today’s virtual based market influencers are breaking new ground in the numbers of attracters. “Now is the first time ever that your next-door neighbor could have a million followers on Instagram,” says Justin Kline, founder of Markerly, an influencer research company. “It’s opened up this whole new world of people who have access to this huge following … which is really great for brands because it allows them to harness all this clout.”

Influencer marketing is much different from celebrity endorsements, which focuses on attaching a brand to a famous actor or sports figure. An influencer develops a relationship between a brand and consumers by earning their trust and developing a loyal following through various media outlets such as Instagram and YouTube. Influencers create their own content and brand message, focusing on promoting authenticity to a targeted audience.

Retailers are recognizing that when it comes to connecting with today’s generation of consumers, a product recommendation from someone they relate to can have far more impact on a purchasing decision than that of an actor or pop star. With billions of dollars at stake, forming a partnership with a successful influencer, regardless of age, can be a big opportunity for retailers large and small.

Earlier this month, Ryan’s World, a toy and T-shirt line created by a six year old first-grader whose YouTube channel reaches nearly 900 million viewers each month, is releasing a line of merchandise to be sold exclusively at more than 2,500 Walmart stores in the United States and on the Walmart.com website. The star of the YouTube channel “Ryan ToysReview,” known only by his first name to protect his youthful privacy, helped select the toys and apparel that will be sold at Walmart under the name Ryan’s World. Ryan’s six YouTube channels have captured the attention of children of all ages.

“Clearly what’s emerged in the last few years is they’re watching an influencer like Ryan on YouTube, and he’s their authority,” says Anne Marie Kehoe, Walmart’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of toys. “That’s why we thought this was something to really move fast on.” The line of toys and apparel will be expanded in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season at Walmart.

Studies are revealing that influencer marketing can deliver significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional forms of digital marketing. More than 48 percent of marketers who are using influencers intend to increase their budgets this year. Ninety four percent of them believe the tactic to be very effective. The phenomenon of influencer marketing is poised to become mainstream as it expands across a wider range of social platforms, and sellers are working to perfect a system that can be included in the overall marketing strategy.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.”  – Scott Cook