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Nearly 60% of Indian CMOs have dedicated budgets for influencer marketing, study finds

89.13 per cent of marketing heads are concerned about influencer fraud.

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NEW DELHI: The growing affinity of consumers towards digital platforms to connect with brands has elevated the popularity of influencer activities in India. Moreover, the Covid2019 outbreak has made brands focus more on affirming their online presence, and it has made influencers a part of the mainstream marketing plans. And now, a new study conducted by AI-driven influencer marketing platform ClanConnect.ai has found that more than half (58.7 per cent) of Indian CMOs have dedicated budgets for influencer marketing in 2021. 

According to the report, 78 per cent of marketing leaders leveraged influencer marketing in 2020, while a little over 13 per cent dabbled in the segment for the first time last year. Interestingly, 52 per cent of brands engaged more than 10 influencers in 2020, which coincides with the accelerated growth of the sector in the last year.

The study found that budgets allocated to influencer marketing grew significantly in 2020 as compared to 2019. In fact, 39.13 per cent of the CMOs mentioned an increase in spends on influencer marketing. The other 60.87 per cent saw no change in spends between 2019 and 2020. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of the respondents increased their marketing spends in 2020, a clear indication of the growing trust that industry-leading brands are placing in influencers for bolstering their brand message among the target audience. 

58.7 per cent of CMOs are allocating separate budgets for influencer activities in their 2021 marketing plans. Simultaneously, 52.17 per cent have decided to increase spends in 2021 as compared to 2020. It is not surprising, then, that almost 90 per cent of CMOs are considering aligning up to a quarter of their entire marketing budget towards influencer-led activities in the current year. Moreover, over half of the respondents are interested in increasing budgets by up to 25 per cent in 2021. 

While 50 per cent of the respondents find Instagram to be the most effective platform for these campaigns, 23.91 per cent prefer LinkedIn, and 15.22 per cent identify YouTube as their go-to platform. 

In another interesting finding, the survey revealed that almost 87 per cent marketing heads prefer to conduct up to 25 per cent of their influencer campaigns with micro-influencers. This proves that brands prefer to engage with influencers who have a dedicated, loyal following even if the number of followers does not go into the millions. 

Over 41 per cent of brands have taken the onus of managing influencer marketing mandates. On the flipside, 15 per cent of them are employing dedicated influencer marketing platforms and marketplaces to create and manage highly targeted and impactful campaigns. However, 89.13 per cent of CMOs are concerned about influencer fraud in the form of fake followers and engagement.

"Influencer marketing is at the cusp of exponential growth. It is the veritable future of marketing, a fact that is evident from this first-of-its-kind survey report," said ClanConnect.ai co-founder and COO Kunal Kishore Sinha. 

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