Four out of five brands in India expect to boost spending on influencer marketing in 2020, new research has found, with Instagram by far the most popular platform for marketers.

Influencer marketing company Buzzoka surveyed over 237 brand custodians across India to compile its Influencer Marketing Outlook 2020 survey, contacting agencies, marketers and “brand folk”. A key message from the survey is that influencers are now a core and growing marketing channel.

A central reason for the growing role of influencers is the quality of customers they are able to target, say marketers. An overwhelming 69% of those surveyed said customers acquired from influencer marketing were of “better” quality compared to other marketing channels.

Influencer marketing was cited by 52% of those surveyed, who said they regarded influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition method.

The right channel is key for a successful campaign, and Instagram maintains its place as the marketers’ favourite, with 94% citing it in their top three platforms for 2020. Twitter was named as a top three platform by 35% of marketers, but Facebook by just 29%.

The rise of TikTok is the big story here, however, with 52% of respondents now naming it among their top three channels, the same percentage who listed YouTube. TikTok was named by just 23% as the most important influencer channel for 2019.

Three quarters (76%) of respondents said TikTok is now becoming an effective or very effective platform to drive influencer marketing in tier 1 and tier 2 markets.

Fake likes are seen as a persistent problem, with Instagram, YouTube and Facebook seen as being most affected.

The most effective pricing model for influencer marketing is straightforward payment per post, marketers say. It was cited by 38% of respondents as most effective, with 31% naming performance-based engagement, and 25% selecting free products or experiences.

While the potential for influencer marketing is huge in India, a country with a population of 1.3 billion, there is clearly a long way to go to develop the area. Penetration of the internet and social platforms is still relatively low.

Research carried out by Pew Research Center two years ago found only 25% of adults in the country use the internet at all, and 80% of the population are not active on social media.

Sourced from Buzzoka, Business Today' additional content by WARC staff