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60% of Indian CMOs have dedicated influencer marketing budgets: ClanConnect.ai study

Given the growing affinity of consumers towards digital platforms to connect with brands, influencer activity has grown exponentially in India. In 2020, as brands solidified their online presence due to the COVID-19 outbreak, influencers became a part of the mainstream marketing plans. Against this backdrop, ClanConnect.ai, India’s first and only AI-driven influencer marketing platform, recently gleaned insights into the state of influencer marketing in India.

In light of this, ClanConnect.ai collated insights from CMOs of leading brands across the FMCG, Infrastructure, Fashion, and Textile, Media and Entertainment, BFSI, Pharmaceuticals space.  According to the data, 78% of marketing leaders leveraged influencer marketing in 2020, while a little over 13% of them initiated influencer activity for the first time in 2020. Interestingly, 52% of brands engaged more than 10 influencers in 2020, which coincides with the accelerated growth of the sector in the last year.

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

Now, as influencer marketing has assumed a mainstream stature, 58.70% of CMOs are allocating separate budgets for influencer activities in their 2021 marketing plans. Simultaneously, 52.17% have decided to increase spends in 2021 as compared to 2020. Almost 90% of CMOs are considering aligning up to 25% of their entire marketing budget towards influencer-led activities in the current year. Moreover, over 50% of the respondents are interested in increasing budgets by up to 25% in 2021. Such targeted financial investment in influencer marketing will provide a fillip to this space, catalyzing its growth over the coming months.

There is no dearth of social media channels that brands can leverage for their influencer campaigns today. While 50% of CMOs find Instagram to be the most effective platform for these campaigns, 23.91% prefer LinkedIn, and 15.22% identify YouTube as their go-to platform.

Deep-diving into intent, ClanConnect.ai found that brands are investing in influencer-led activities to increase sales, create awareness on new products and create a library of user-generated content, a practice that has proven its potential in engaging and retaining consumers. 60.87% of CMOs also believe that the ambit of influencer marketing can also expand into affiliate campaigns, further indicating the great, untapped potential of the sector.

The survey also revealed that almost 87% of CMOs prefer to conduct up to 25% 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.

Kunal Kishore Sinha, Co-founder and COO – ClanConnect.ai, said, “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. At ClanConnect.ai, we are excited to be at the forefront of such a fast-growing sector and are geared up to gain further scale in the coming months.

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