UNDER THE INFLUENCE: “The question is no longer if a brand should work with influencers but how they should work with them,” said Michael Jais, chief executive officer of Launchmetrics, at the presentation of the fourth edition of the firm’s annual study on the state of influencer marketing, with a focus on the French industry.

Addressing a crowd of more than 150 people from the luxury and beauty industries, the executive said brands need to explore the different ways influencers can be compensated and explained how influencers have become the bridge to the exclusive luxury universe that the consumer not only craves but demands.

Six-hundred professionals from the luxury and beauty sectors from across five countries — the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy and Spain — were interviewed for the report, as well as 200 influencers.

According to the report, 80 percent of the professionals interviewed ran campaigns featuring influencers in 2017, marking a 25 percent increase year-on-year. Thirty-five percent of professionals interviewed favored Instagram as their most-used platform versus 99 percent for the influencers. Sixty-two percent of the influencers interviewed saw their income in the year rise by between 25 percent and 50 percent, and 60 percent of the professionals confirmed they would continue to allocate more of their budgets to influencers.

For the first time, the majority of influencers surveyed — representing 63 percent — said they now expect payment for promoting a brand, Jais said.

The presentation, held on Tuesday at the Automobile Club de France in Paris, was followed by a roundtable hosted by Jessica Michault, senior vice president of industry relations at Launchmetrics, with guests Alicia Birr, senior strategic planner luxury and fashion at Google; Guillaume Delacroix, founder and ceo of Paris-based public relations firm DLX Agency, and Peggy Frey, a Parisian influencer and freelance fashion journalist at Madame Figaro.

Live video being the hot medium for influencers, and the growing trend for authenticity over paid content, were among the key takeaways from the debate.

Delacroix, whose accounts include Matchesfashion.com, signaled growing demand from clients for niche community leaders over influencers.

When approached on the subject of 2018 being “the year of YouTube,” Birr said she hears the same thing each year but confirmed the surging popularity of live video with influencers, “who are often personalities with a cross-platform presence,” on mediums like LiveStories, Snapchat Stories and Instagram Live.

“For lots of influencers and YouTubers who have their own channel featuring videos that take a lot of work, a lot of time to produce, the live allows them to be a lot more spontaneous, they’re able to work to two rhythms,” said Birr who also talked about the YouTube Spaces around the world, including Paris, where “creators” with more than 1,000 followers can go to get advice and training, shoot videos in special decors and network with other creators with whom they can collaborate “and grow their communities.”

“YouTube was created long before Instagram so we have the advantage of already having a solid community in place. But I have no doubt that in a few years Instagram and maybe Facebook will provide similar services,” she said.

Birr also cited the growing popularity of fashion vloggers covering the shows and “fashion news” versus those focusing on styling tips, mimicking the format of the beauty vloggers who “paved the way for other industries.” Among ones to watch, she cited new-gen London-based fashion vlogger Luke Meagher, who has just over 36,000 followers on his YouTube channel, Haute Le Mode. She compared him to “a mini Loïc Prigent.”

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