Google and the Rise of the Influencer

24 March 2016

Influencer marketing is here to stay

Over the past 2 years we’ve observed fascinating developments within the realm of influencer marketing. Traditional marketing is no longer enough for the consumer; who has expressed an increased preference for a trusted opinion. As a result we’ve observed the development of the consumer- turned- digital influencer, a new type of pseudo celebrity, who’ve become famous brands in their own rights. Subsequently, brand desire for collaborating with influencers has increased and according to a report created by E-Consultancy, marketing budgets set aside for influencer led campaigns are set to increase by nearly 60% in 2016. Whilst this form of influencer marketing has not yet reached tipping point, we can see that it is certainly here to stay.

Google clamps down on sponsored content

This recent surge in brand and influencer engagement has caught the attention of Google, who have newly released advice on the best practice for influencer and brand collaborations, in order to ensure that content is both helpful to users and of course complies with the official Google Webmaster Guidelines. The crucial point to consider here from Google is; ‘links that pass PageRank in exchange for goods or services are against Google guidelines on link schemes’. To avoid being penalised for malpractice, influencers should utilise a ‘nofollow' tag on all links which were not generated organically. This new guideline positions the brands offering an exchange in return for a link, the responsibility to remind influencers to use 'nofollow' on these links, as well as declaring a disclosure of sponsorship within the post. Google concludes their guideline by reminding influencers to always keep in the forefront of their content strategy, the importance of keeping their content relevant, and of high quality- not just for the sake of advertising.

How to proceed?

It’s important to always keep in consideration the scale of your influencer marketing campaign. Unless you’re working with one of the most successful influencers, such as the type that is renowned because of their ability to sell out a collection through Instagram, influencer marketing isn’t only about receiving links. Results are gained through a long term strategy of raising brand awareness to the influencer’s audience through genuine engagement.