Understanding Influencer Marketing


Although influencer marketing isn’t a new marketing technique, the unprecedented growth in digital media has prompted enterprises to move from TV commercials to this more niche-specific advertisement approach.

While influencer marketing can appear like an expensive option initially, once it is invested in strategically, it can bring a great return on investment (ROI) if well managed and virality is achieved. This is backed by Adweek’s study in the USA where it was found that influencer marketing brings $6.50 for every dollar spent.

Influencer marketing is now a more integral part of digital marketing with enterprises now underpinning their strategies through influencer marketing as it is seen as an important means  to connect with their consumers and make their services/products popular.

Understanding Influencer Marketing

An influencer is anyone with a good following on social media platforms like YouTube, Tiktok and Instagram. Organisations can leverage an influencer’s audience by offering him or her an advantage in return, usually in the form of money but can be in stock or service also which is advantageous for SME’s.

As the general public is more distributed now  in terms of their media consumption, using traditional marketing techniques is often not a cost-effective way of promoting particular products and services. Especially, when there is less chance that your target customer is engaging in more traditional marketing ways.

Difference Between an Influencer and a Celebrity

It’s important to understand the difference between a celebrity and an influencer for a marketer to fully realize the potential influencer marketing offers.  Attaching a celebrity to a brand and finding an influencer with authority in your industry are two different marketing strategies with different potential results.   An influencer has a niche-based following, allowing the advertiser to target an audience that is looking for products and services in your industry.

Establishing Trust with Influencer Marketing

In marketing, establishing trust with prospects is one of the primary difficulties brands face. Influencer marketing allows you to take advantage of an influencer’s already established trust with his or her audience.  For example, a travel Vlogger with an audience that’s interested in outdoor travelling can help a company who retails outdoor gadgets and make such brands popular among them.

Monetary Value of Influencers

The required marketing budget for influencer marketing depends on several things but wih established influencers it is usually based on the monetary value of the influencer, which, in turn, depends on the number of followers and type of platform. Other factors that may impact your influencer marketing outcomes include the engagement rate of the influencer and length of the campaign. Industry experts estimate an average of $1000 per 100k followers.

Why Influencer Marketing is Effective?

An influencer with an industry-specific audience can be an incredible source of traffic for your brand if their ‘story’ is compelling and there is synergies in their mission and your brandings positioning. People tend to trust the products their favourite influencer recommend, which is why influencer marketing continues to bring great ROI for brands.

A further case Study can be found here


Enterprises need to follow their prospects and the trends that are driving profitable action from their consumers’ behaviours. Influencer marketing is proving to be an effective way for organisations to get in front of their potential consumers in more creative ways (the equivalent of product placement in old TV parlance). Here are a few extra opportunities to develop your knowledge around influencer marketing.

  • Know about the trend of influencer marketing in 2021 here.
  • Here is a detailed infographic about how you can make influencer marketing inexpensive.
  • And here is an in-depth course on influencer marketing strategy on Coursera.


  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, E. (2016) Digital marketing: strategy, implementation, and practice. 6th ed. New York: Pearson.
  • Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. R. (2017) Digital marketing excellence: Planning, optimizing and integrating online marketing. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Ryan, D. (2020) Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.


  • Jin, S.V., Muqaddam, A. and Ryu, E. (2019) Instafamous and social media influencer marketing. Marketing Intelligence & Planning.
  • Martínez-López, F.J., Anaya-Sánchez, R., Fernández Giordano, M. and Lopez-Lopez, D. (2020) Behind influencer marketing: key marketing decisions and their effects on followers’ responses. Journal of Marketing Management, 36(7-8), 579-607.
  • Taylor, C.R. (2020) The urgent need for more research on influencer marketing. International Journal of Advertising, 39(7), 889-891.

Published by Dr John Bustard

I am currently a Lecturer in Digital Transformation within Ulster University Business School, specifically within the school's largest department: Management, Leadership and Marketing. Previously, as a researcher, lecturer and doctoral candidate I focused on digital events and delivered classes to MSc & BSc level. My duties have included coordinating and guest lecturing on Marketing Communications, Enterprise & New Venture Creation, e-Business Strategy, Research Methods. My particular passion is through exploring Digital Marketing approaches which enhance student awareness and appreciation of the impact of digital and an enquiring mind to understand future technology applications. *All views are my own*

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