Trends, news, and analysis: catch up on the week's biggest headlines with the Julius Works Blog's weekly round up, your cheat sheet for staying in the know with influencer marketing.

News and Analysis:

Almost 32 percent of Americans use Instagram in 2018…

And almost 70 percent of teenagers use Snapchat regularly. EMarketer’s social media usage report details these and other exciting statistics for the influencer space. The growth of Instagram stories, the decline of Facebook’s dominance, and the expansion of user and advertiser-friendly features has steadily expanded the usability and profitability of social media.

Instagram’s growth meets its powerhouse expectations, considering its popularity among influencers and its near ubiquity within pop culture. Snapchat’s popularity among teenagers, however, seems to be the only good story coming out of Snap HQ. Just last week, Snapchat announced they lost 2 millions users, resulting in a new all-time low share price of $6.31.

The Julius View:

Surprisingly, Instagram’s value as a platform is not its marquee feature: stories and IGTV offer advertisers and influencers a variety of tools for penetration. Stories, with over 400 million daily users, offer flexibility and versatility in content that static photos alone cannot provide The ‘swipe up’ feature simplifies affiliate programs, while the ephemeral nature of stores lends itself to a perceived authenticity. Sticker, gif, and music overlays help personalize and humanize influencer stories, making stories incomparable to other types of content.

Snapchat is a confusing story for marketers; its usage, and therefore usefulness, drops off with users above the age of 21. Snapchat has struggled to turn a profit since its disastrous IPO, and this week’s news makes its outlook even murkier. Ad buys are up, but shares and users are down. Influencer marketing on Snapchat is difficult at best, but there is still room for more traditional forms of digital marketing on the platform.


Staple fashion brands are experimenting with influencers

Macy’s novel approach to influencer marketing uses employees of all levels, from cashiers to executives, to showcase their goods in exchange for undisclosed benefits. By keeping things internal, Macy’s can control their messaging, improve metrics, and prevent follower fraud. Digiday released an expose of sorts on this internal system, describing it as an opt-in program for any employee who can be paid for any online sale they drive.

Meanwhile, Asics, the popular sneaker brand, is reevaluating their influencer marketing strategy, as their executives are skeptical of the returns on investment of their previous campaigns. Asics opted to change their approach and focus on micro-influencers, whom they could pay with free or discounted sneakers and apparel. By using micro-influencers, who usually have higher engagement rates, Asics is attempting to reassert control over the evolving industry. 

The Julius View:

Macy’s and Asics' strategies are two approaches to a common problem with influencers: how can a brand track metrics and ensure success? For all the potential the industry has, execution is yet to be standardized. While hiring a Jenner might work for watch brand Daniel Wellington, the same pay-off won’t exist for a different brand. The intense and often unrecognizable nuances of influence, from psychological perception of an audience to the time a post goes up, makes developing a strategy in-house a capital-intensive endeavor without an influencer marketing solution such as Julius.

Macy’s use of employees circumvents the need for search and discovery and thorough vetting. Asics is shifting from larger, more prominent influencer partners to micro-influencers to have better control over metrics and reporting, as well as maximizing their returns on investment. Both approach the problem of achieving success in a constantly changing environment in fundamentally different ways.


Interesting Reads For The Week:

Want Better Engagement from Influencer Marketing? It’s Time to Go Micro.” Via Skyword

Can Influencer Marketing Hurt Your SEO?” Via SEJ

“Top 10 Elderly Influencers on Instagram” Via MediaKix


What’s new with Julius?

Be on the lookout for our West Coast representative Karin Swanson, who will be attending the Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit next week! She’ll be sharing great pictures and insightful quotes from the event.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more influencer marketing news, analysis, and interesting content.