Influencer Marketing Digest – What Are The Experts Saying? - RTC
8th June | Rob Waldon back

Influencer Marketing Digest – What Are The Experts Saying?

I’m going to kick this off with a good ol’ cliché, because that’s what all decent blogs do: in a world that’s changing at a rapid pace, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing is moving just as quickly.

Influencer Marketing Strategy – how do you stay on the forefront?

What are the key movements, trends and considerations that are an absolute MUST when it comes to setting up an influencer campaign? It’s your lucky day, I’m about to give you a sneak peek.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Influencer 360 in Brighton – an event held by PRWeek and Campaign to bring together industry professionals from leading brands and agencies, to “discuss the latest opportunities and threats to the lucrative influencer landscape”. I was keen to attend, having been selected by PRWeek earlier this year to provide insights and commentary for their Influencer Expert Panel – a group of influencer marketing agency specialists from the UK’s top businesses. (I’ll link the resulting articles at the end of this post, if you fancy a read).

Now, back to business. Here’s my attempt at distilling the depth of a full day’s worth of presentations into a quick, digestible blog. Let’s go…


BENlab’s EVP of Technology, Alex McFayden discussed the vast acceleration of artificial intelligence, and how it’s shaping influencer marketing. Alex’s opening stat provided eye-opening context: it took Facebook three years to reach 50 million followers. YouTube did it in two years. TikTok in nine months. As for AI app, ChatGPT? Just one month. WOW.

And with the growth of AI in marketing comes lots of efficiencies across the internet, including in influencer marketing strategy, such as enhanced evaluation techniques to establish exactly how consumers are engaging and receiving content. And it’s starting to play a role in content creation, too. But with great power, comes great responsibility – AI is not flawless, and it registers biases based on its users and the internet information it mines. The key takeout? There is absolutely the need for human reasoning and creative input. I don’t think we’re going to be fully replaced by robots any time soon. Phew.


The legal side of things FASCINATES me (genuinely). And Freeths’ Partner, Iona Silverman, did a smashing job of breaking down the law in the least jargon-centric way possible. A big shock for the room (but TBH, not for me – because it’s something we’re very aware of, as an agency) was centred around the rules of influencer gifting, and how content creators must use #Ad, even on gifted, unpaid content. Because a gift – whether it’s a week in the Maldives, or a new health food bar, still constitutes ‘payment’ in the eyes of the ASA cap code. That’s why we work closely with influencers and their agents and always remind them of this rule when sending out gifts.


This was the undeniable buzzword of the day – and something that fully resonated with OG YouTuber, Louis Cole. For him (and I’m sure most influencers), having an open and transparent relationship with his audience is vital – because they can tell if content isn’t authentic, especially if it’s branded.

As I said at the beginning, we’re seeing the whole influencer space evolving on an almost daily basis. Channels are introducing new features (and let’s be real, copying their competitors), whilst content creators are straddling the line between polished, perfectionist content and the raw and real approach. Some creators may not have the same quality of production in their content, but they reap rewards in authenticity and therefore, audience buy-in and engagement.

Also discussed were the important topics of ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’, as well as the ‘De-Influencing’ trend. Both of which deserve their own blog posts – so keep your eyes peeled for those.

But among the insights and commentary, what really stood out to me was a discussion around influencer spend, and where this sits in client marketing budgets. There was an emerging consensus that influencer marketing is being taken more seriously as a channel in its own right, and is increasingly taking more share marketing spend, in particular, from media budgets. AKA, it’s no longer funded purely from the PR or social budget. Great news!

That said, I had to disagree with what was discussed next. A few doors down the road was Media 360, the event counterpart for advertising and media buying. It was discussed that as influencer marketing is seen as more of a force in its own right, and more of a viable marketing channel, that these conversations should be happening in Media 360, rather than in a separate Influencer talk, or indeed, PR.

Couldn’t disagree more. In fact, the best retort I can provide here, is a response I told PR Week earlier this year, when discussing influencer marketing trends, as part of the aforementioned Influencer Expert Panel, which I’ll leave you with…

“It’s important to look at influencer marketing through a PR lens – the storytelling and narrative are integral to get right. Influencer work activated through an advertising team can run the risk of being brand and creative first, and storytelling afterwards – which ends up feeling less natural, like seeing a celebrity in a TV yoghurt advert.”

Do be sure to check out these PRWeek articles, if you want to read more on my take…
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