Who benefits from the influencer business?

Posted November 14, 2018, 4:45 pmUpdated on July 8, 2019 at 13.30.

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram, the temple of influencers, which now claims nearly 1 billion users, has evolved greatly. “The days are gone when everyone did their own thing on social media. Today, everything is codified: the release schedule, the choice of filters … nothing is left to chance,” confides Annabelle *, an influencer specializing in fashion.

In addition, the fashionista with 30,000 subscribers has been offering itself the services of an agent since last January. Hypercompetition obliges. “As a manager, it allows me to gain visibility with brands,” says the influencer, who prefers to speak on condition of anonymity for fear of being blacklisted by brands. “When I sign a partnership, he negotiates the agreement.” This includes scripting posts, number of publications or even airline tickets in case of travel.

Influencers have a job next door most of the time

“We are so many in the market that to stand out you need an almost ‘pro’ approach. Creativity is no longer enough to exist on instagram”, the influencer, who invests a lot of personal funds in his passion, entrusts an activity , which remains secondary to her, as to many influencers.

For despite this professionalization, very few influencers today live off this activity. “I pay my agent, but I’m not paid for my missions,” Annabelle says. According to estimates by Guillaume Doki-thonon, the founder of Reech, an agency specializing in influence marketing, “only 1% of influencers really live off their passion”.

Still, the influencer marketing market is booming. It is already “one of the most dynamic communication channels”, assures Guillaume Doki-thonon. Instagram is at the top of the reference platforms ahead of Youtube, according to a study published in January 2018. In terms of numbers, this market is estimated at between 5 and 10 billion dollars in 2020, according to the agency Mediakix, primarily for the benefit of brands and middlemen.

How to choose an influencer? How to assess the remuneration of a benefit? “In the beginning it was done with a wet finger. The brands were lost. We, as marketing professionals, have come to rationalize all this, as we depend on powerful tools in data analysis “, claims Guillaume Doki-thonon, the founder of Reech.

Do you like to roll Instagram? They made it their job

Overall, “brands are investing more and more of their budget in social networks,” notes Dorian Ciavarella, 28, co-founder of Hivency, which created software that allows brands to collaborate with micro-influencers (includes less than 100,000 subscribers). “The brand proposes a campaign, and thanks to our algorithms, we can identify the best profiles according to their goals,” explains the young entrepreneur trained by ESCP. His startup is developing rapidly and has just announced a fundraising of 2.5 million euros.

For Thomas Owadenko, the founder of Octoly, a marketplace dedicated to micro-influencers, which completed a € 9 million funding round in November 2017: “influencers have completely switched communication cards. This is called digital native brands,” explains the entrepreneur, who almost claims 12,000 monthly influencers on its platform.His concept: a site designed as “a great virtual Sephora where micro-influencers can come and test products provided by brands for free”, specifies the entrepreneur, who was inspired by a model that has been tested and approved for several years, across the Atlantic.

Arrival of new professions

“All this bubble of influencers has brought forth new players and new professions,” notes Guillaume Doki-thonon. More and more brands are starting directly on Instagram, to make themselves known, but also to sell their product. With its recent round of funding of 7 million euros, My Jolie Candle is the symbol of this French success. Launched in 2015, the brand of scented candles has made Instagram its playground and has focused everything on influencers.

An internal position is even dedicated to it! As a 28-year-old, after starting her career in communications, Adrienne Frigau became “influencer manager” at My Jolie Candle. “Between the day before, the search for talent, the commercial part and the follow-up of collaborations, my days are very full,” she testifies. A job she learned at work. “The school education has not yet been completed. But, we who are born with social networks, we have a kind of natural legitimacy … ”, she smiles.

A burgeoning industry

Are influencers the new unpaid interns?

Maybe not so long ago because “all these new practices and fundraising done by influencer marketing experts show that the discipline is becoming more professional and starting to become an industry in itself, even though traditional companies still ask many questions”. analyzes Bertrand Jonquois, Head of the Digital Marketing & Data Analytics Program at EMLV (Leonard de Vinci School of Management).

At least this new playground offers a lot of opportunities for young people who have a head start in mastering digital tools and social networks. “I do not teach my students to use these tools because they are already experts! On the other hand, I can teach them to develop a business vision, it is also in this field that companies expect them, ”assures Bertrand Jonquois.

* Name has been changed.

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