Infographic: Influencers Are Brands' MVPs

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Display advertising didn't snag a spot on many marketers' channel rosters last year. In fact, 30% of marketers surveyed say that display advertising is dead or dying, according to IZEA's 2013 “State of Sponsored Social” report. Social, on the other hand, was a top draft pick. According to the report, 60% of companies have standalone social media budgets.

Among all of the social plays out there, sponsored content is one marketing tactic that has experienced a big gain in yardage. Fifty-one percent of marketers surveyed said that they used sponsored blog posts last year. Likewise, 52% of marketers said that they used sponsored tweets in 2013 and 33% said that they used sponsored video, according to the report.

Brands that use sponsored content are willing to compensate their star players for strong performances. For instance, most marketers prefer to pay social influencers with cash (56%), while others prefer to pay them with free products (39.3%) or coupons or discounts (36.3%). In fact, 30.8% of marketers say they won't leave their social influencers without any compensation, according to the report. But to ensure that they only keep first-string players, many marketers measure social sponsorship performance. For example, 41.9% of marketers say measuring the success of sponsorships by means of the quality of the content is very important. Similarly, marketers also deem click-through rates (35.2%) and shares (36.5%) as very important sponsorship metrics, according to the study.

But top players want top pay, and influencers often place their skill set at a higher value than advertisers do. For instance, while marketers say that the average value of a sponsored email newsletter is $139.86, influencers say they deserve $191.47. And although marketers think that $94.02 should suffice for a sponsored video, influencers say they're worth $120.98, according to the report. In fact, 16.8% of influencers consider themselves celebrities, the report notes. But satisfied influencers are willing to go the distance for their brand teams. For example, 61.1% of influencers share more posts than they're contractually obligated to, and 80.8% verbally tell friends about the brands they work for.

However, both teams fumble when it comes to being aware of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines—that sponsored content must be disclosed. According to the report, 37.9% of influencers admitted that they have no understanding of FTC guidelines, and more than a quarter of marketers (26.7%) admitted the same.

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