You don’t need us to tell you that influencer marketing is experiencing a meteoric rise. You’d expect us to, of course, given that we started an app for influencer marketing—but hopefully you haven’t been living under a rock, and none of this is new. If it is, welcome. The facts are in: 2016 was a big year for influencer marking and 2017 is poised to be even bigger. Here’s what we can expect:

1) Budgets are doubling. Most marketers spent between 25k-50k per influencer marketing programs last year (according to this study.) Only 4% according to the study said they’d decrease their spend. The others said they’d double it. No big deal, right?

2) It’s all about the ROI (Return On Investment). Think of traditional forms of marketing and advertising. Can any brand say for certain how much business their billboard or expensive spread in a magazine actually brought in? Not likely. Given the technology now available, everything can be tracked …even the engagement levels of influencers used in a campaign. That’s why this form of influencer marketing is experiencing such tremendous growth. So, those of you who pride themselves on having loads of followers (especially those who got there by buying followers) you might want to rethink your approach. Lots of followers does not necessarily make for a great return on investment for these brands. (See our blog on micro influencers.)

3) Trust in thy influencer. Something we’ve noticed in working on these campaigns with our influencers is that they know their audience. They know how to communicate to them in a way that is authentic and true to their own voice. We’ve said this over and over again. Authenticity coupled with good content is the winning formula. Do not, we repeat, do not tell the influencer how to represent your brand. Of course, there are guidelines and things you want represented in these posts, but trust in your influencers. They know what they’re doing. That’s how they got your attention in the first place.

4) Brand Awareness will lead to sales. This isn’t new, but it’s something that companies are starting to learn. By using influencer marketing (we’d be remiss to leave out that this depends on the product) brands will learn patience. Even though everything is at the click of a button, brands can’t expect for people to immediately buy their product because such and such influencer told them to… Yes, the technology has changed, things are generally more immediate, but shopping patterns and building brand recognition/trust in brands has not changed. A consumer might not connect with a brand at first glance, but after a few more interactions, they’ll start to develop a relationship with said brand and eventually convert that recognition into a sale. Smart marketers will do right to further explore this “seed planting” for organic growth, and not stress out about making an immediate sale. Again this depends on the brand, but we see this happening with our users. Repeated messaging leads to brand awareness, which eventually leads to sales.

5) No limit to creativity. As we mentioned earlier, these influencers are masters at content creation and storytelling. They apply the tools given to them, test the limits, and find their unique perspective on these social media platforms. Every update to them means new methods with which to communicate their stories. So as the technology evolves, so will their content. This should be very exciting to all you marketers out there.

In summation, trust in your influencer, trust in the facts and thank the heavens for what all this technology has brought you.