The influencer marketing industry is almost at $2 billion now and shows absolutely no signs of stopping— according to Media Kix, the influencer market is set to become a 10 billion dollar industry by the end of 2020. This rapid rise of influencers is mainly due to its pure efficiency; as it’s taken over social media by storm, influencers hold substantial weight and are now almost expected to be included in a brand’s marketing strategy. Here’s what’s to come for influencer marketing in 2020 and what you need to stay ahead of the curve.
According to eMarketer, 48% of Hootesuite’s clients said they used influencer marketing with well-known or celebrity influencers, while 45% used micro-influencers who have smaller, highly engaged audiences. Throughout the previous years, Instagram has dominated the influencer industry’s, being the medium of choice. Now as TikTok and other video content platforms start to rise in popularity, influencers opt for creating visual content, both feed-based and ephemeral based works. The vast market of visual mediums opens up a whole new playing field for influencer and digital agencies to explore.
Seeing that video content creates a more personal connection – the influencer market is starting to adopt a story-telling approach that they can convey visually making it more convenient for viewers to consume and engage in Biteable stated that 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video; and by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. More engagement and the track record of success prove that video is here to stay and influencer marketing is tackling it head-on.
Along with this story-telling approach, we see that authenticity is highly favored from audiences— and brands slowly shift from using macro-influencers to micro- and nano-influencers. Smaller in terms of following and status, local influencers tend to be less expensive and can reach a more specific, targeted audience. Social Media Today explains that 61% of consumers say that micro-influencers produce the most relatable content. Brands may even choose influencers that actually use their products to promote them. Brands are honing in on this advantage rather than investing an expensive amount of money on celebrities.
Though trust is important, transparency comes closely behind. As directed by the FTC, many influencers that work with businesses and brands are now blatant about their brand deals including “#ad” or a company’s hashtag that they have provided in order to make sure audiences are aware. Instagram’s update for when including a paid promotion tag underneath the username also helps with this. The more transparency, the more of a chance there is for improving honest brand advocacy and generating sales without compromising a consumer’s emotion of feeling tricked. This comes with weeding out influencers with fake followers, an inauthentic voice and other deceptions both a brand or the audience can clearly see-through. As we dive deeper into understanding the influencer market, authenticity along with originality is valued most between brands and audiences alike.
As we focus on trust and transparency, brands are expected to start creating long-term relationships with influencers, growing together instead of opting for a new group of individuals every time; they release new content. The benefits outweigh the cons— saving brands time, expenses and effort – the ability to maintain a valuable connection between the brand and influencer equals stability and trust. Rather than just social posts, these brands are now encouraging their fellow influencers to create more content for them including tutorials, website content, podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, digital ads, etc. This reaches a wider audience showcasing products via multiple formats while beginning to build a deeper relationship.
We also see a large shift in influencers branching out from just brand deals and creating original content for themselves. They are using the foundation and trust they built while also exploring new ways to monetize their original content the foundation and trust they have created to explore their own original creative content and how they can sell that. To keep control and authenticity, these creators are moving away from large businesses and mass marketing through their channels – instead, they focus on brands and partnerships that reflect what they stand for.
Because of this, we’ll start to see a rise in AI influencers. Though they haven’t quite yet taken over the marketing industry just yet, we will begin to so see it first with virtual artists; such as @FNMeka & @teflonsega. Investments into AI companies have proliferated and we can expect to see more of tech taking over; this has been a slow, gradual change yet a change nonetheless. The trend of “robot influencers” has intrigued and caught the eye of a new generation of consumers, Gen-Z, and can play a key role in how brands and businesses sell to their audiences.
As we continue through 2020, influencer marketing is an ever-evolving industry— to stay ahead one must adapt to the rapid change of how we understand social media and use the culture around it. The influencer market is most definitely here to stay; the only question is how can you use it to achieve success?