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Forecast: Influencer Marketing Budgets To Keep Growing This Year.

From the morning radio host talking up Lasik surgery to the podcaster selling the virtues of a food delivery service, influencer marketing budgets continue to funnel dollars into audio. Despite marketing budgets under pressure this year, a new survey from Advertiser Perceptions points to continued growth. Even as ad dollars are pulled back in other media channels and headlines suggest the utilization of creators may be waning, the survey finds advertiser investment in creators is actually growing. Advertiser Perceptions says 12% of digital ad budgets were allocated to creator and influencer marketing in 2022. And even more promising is the fact that 53% plan to increase that budget line in 2023. The dollars are most likely to come out of traditional media budgets.

The survey finds that mid-tier and macro-level creators – those who reach between 50,000 and one million people – are most likely to be tapped as brands look to reach young audiences. The findings are based on an Advertiser Perceptions survey of more than 200 advertisers and 125 creators in the U.S. late last year.

The interviews uncovered both common ground and priority differences. “A platform having desirable audiences at scale is a top priority on both sides,” the report says. “But creators also care about a platform’s cultural relevance, while campaign outcomes and high-quality creator content are top considerations for advertisers. Creators also care about fairness in how the platforms work with them.” Advertiser Perceptions says creators think the vast majority of platforms under-deliver on fairness.

Creators and advertisers also face different challenges. While advertisers need more help matching with the right creators, and assurances regarding brand safety and fraud, the report says creators need less friction in their effort to publish content while also facing the challenge of trying to stand out. Advertiser Perceptions says digital platforms and solution providers can help with features that enable creators to stand out and provide more reliability in content discovery algorithms.

The growth of influencer spending comes as the Federal Trade Commission looks to expand the definition of what would be considered an endorser, toughen reviews of social media posts, and fine-tune disclosures based on the audience targeted. Under a proposal released last May, labeling would need to be more “clear and conspicuous” and “easily understandable by ordinary consumers.” For audio ads on radio or in podcasts, the FTC says the disclosure would need to be in the ad’s audible portion. “An audible disclosure should be delivered in a volume, speed, and cadence sufficient for ordinary consumers to easily hear and understand it,” the draft order says. “In any communication using an interactive electronic medium, such as social media or the internet, the disclosure should be unavoidable.”

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