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Influencer marketing firms get a seat at the table

Illustration by Kate Walker

Influencer marketing firms get a seat at the table


The Future. The past 18 months have seen a major increase in ad spend on influencer marketing, and brands are increasingly proposing long-term agency-of-record relationships with influencer marketing agencies. The shift suggests that influencer marketing has become essential to brands — and might even overtake traditional marketing.

Chin up
According to Digiday, the explosive growth of influencer marketing explains brands’ new demand — and respect — for influencer marketing firms.

  • Last year, brands spent a whopping $16.4 billion on influencer marketing, a big step up from $13.8 billion in 2021.
  • Until recently, brands would hire general marketing agencies, and those agencies would hire influencer marketing agencies for individual projects. Now, though, brands are offering influencer marketing firms their own long-term contracts on an annual basis.
  • Why the shift? Brands may be looking to cut costs by paying influencer marketing firms directly rather than through other agencies. More ad spend usually means more scrutiny from a brand’s financial department.

Individual influencers are also seeking — and getting — more of these long-term contracts with brands.

Streak or cycle?
Some expect this trend to continue for a long time, with influencer marketing firms gaining more power in the marketing world for as long as ad dollars flock to content platforms. Others see this as merely a stage in a constant cycle of change, citing how brand ambassadors’ long-term relationships gave way to short-term creator/influencer relationships before the current long-term contract era.

Who knows, one day we might see the return of sandwich-board salesmen, but for now, influencer marketers are in a good spot.

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