Target looks at how influencers are turning the world of marketing and PR on its head. Social media influencers are transforming the world of marketing as we know it. As they continue to multiply, and gain trust among their followers, they?ve also become an integral part of how brands reach consumers. Bassam Aseel, Managing Director of marketing company Nine71 argues that we are now very much in the age of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has higher reach versus its traditional counterparts. Let's say we're running a TV commercial that runs on TV for one month. You can get one influencer that will do one post that will reach the same number of people at a fraction of the price in the lower and the less period of time. ROI stands for return on investment. Influencer marketing generates 11 times better ROI than traditional market marketing efforts. Brands are set to spend 13.4 Billion euros on influencer campaigns by 2022. Around 79% of marketers favour instagram over other platforms. 'Reach' vs 'Niche' There are two main categories for influencers - 'reach? describes those with large followings and ?niche? is for those with smaller, more specialised and engaged communities. Brands are now looking beyond the big names like the Kardashians to more niche influencer-types including: kidfluencers, micro-influencers and even virtual influencers. This audience is a very, very digital savvy Dubai is known as a hub for influencers. It's young population, with an average age of 33 is very active on social media. That means influencer marketing is highly effective. In the UAE 72% of respondents to a 2019 BPG Group survey purchased a brand or ate somewhere after hearing about it from an influencer. While 71% tried a service and 57% travelled to a specific destination because of influencers mentioning them. This audience is a very, very digital savvy, very digital literate. And so consequently of course our marketing strategy and communication strategy value at its right level and social media influencers, in particular, within this ecosystem of the digital world have given a window to the brand that is extremely important, says Vincent Reynes, Managing Director of Bulgari in the MEA region. The affinity with the brand, with the DNA of the brand, is something that is for us extremely important. And hence, when we choose, we always balance the quantity, which is the number or numbers of followers, likers, what have you. And at the same time, the quality of the platform they are running. And, of course, their personality, he adds. The importance of being picky It?s also important for influencers to be selective about which brands they choose to promote. I usually work with brands that I trust. And when I find a brand that I trust, I like to have a long partnership with them. I don't work with brands that I don't like because I don't want to give false information on my content,'' says Social Media Influencer Arabella Daho. Jessica Hardie, another Social Media Influencer agrees: I check on how they treat their customers. And you know what their ethical standpoints are, what they stand for. She also says the recent introduction of so-called influencer licences in the UAE is a positive step. It gives legitimacy to what we do. So I think was a really positive thing for the influencers here in Dubai and globally. I think regulation is pretty important because it's it encourages influencers to be forthcoming about whether or not they're being paid to advertise a product. And it protects the followers as consumers. As social media becomes the billboard of the 21st century, users can expect brands to invent ever more imaginative ways to reach them via the influencers they follow.