By Taylor Eck
Influencer marketing is a force that has only grown and become increasingly powerful over time. So much so that in 2023, the influencer marketing industry grew into a $21.1 billion industry, which is an increase of 29% compared to 2022. What does this mean for brands? The answer is simple – influencers are here to stay.
Why does influencer marketing work? Many reasons can lead someone to feel influenced to buy a product, book a trip, try a workout, and so on. Those consuming the content feel drawn to the topic, they may have been looking for vacation inspiration or a new workout, but most importantly, they feel like they can trust the influencer – they feel connected. Many of us are guilty of falling for the influencer charm – because it works. So how do we take part in a continuously growing industry while also making sure we are utilizing the correct influencers to get a positive ROI? To start, it’s important to understand the current landscape of the influencer world. Augustine works with influencers regularly amongst our PR and social teams, so we compiled a list of influencer trends we have seen in our everyday work.
Affiliate Marketing is Taking Over
Affiliate marketing is where an influencer receives a commission for each visit, signup, or sale made as a result of their content. Typically, an influencer will reach out to a brand they feel would resonate with their audience and vice versa. From there, a partnership is created and the influencer will begin to generate content and earn a portion of the profit from each sale made with their tailored link or promo code. HelloFresh is a great example of a brand that uses an affiliate program to team up with creators. Its affiliate program offers a $20 commission on the eligible first sale of every new customer an affiliate brings in.
According to Printify, micro-influencers will continue to be the ones dominating the affiliate marketing industry as organizations with lower budgets will seek out these influencers to maximize their spending and return on investment. Not only that, but these smaller influencers can create more of a personal relationship with their followers, creating trust and authenticity, which we’ll touch on in the next trend.
Micro and Nano Influencers Can Fulfill Your Marketing Strategy
Depending on your organization’s goals and budget, influencers can be used in a variety of ways. As mentioned above, micro and nano influencers are expected to continue and dominate the affiliate marketing industry, but that’s not the only benefit to these smaller creators.
Smaller creators also tend to have a higher engagement rate as their followers are more actively involved, resulting in more meaningful interactions. These influencers will generally have a closer relationship with their followers, which results in the influencer gaining the trust of their followers. Let’s be real, are you more likely to purchase a new product because a Kardashian recommended it to you or because someone you feel a personal connection with recommended it?
Micro and nano influencers are also a more cost-effective tactic for a brand to use in their overall marketing strategy. Based on our experience, these creators are generally open to negotiating terms, deliverable costs, and even usage rights of their content, which is a huge benefit for brands. Usage rights allow brands to utilize an influencer’s content for their marketing channels, PR, social, etc., which allows for a long-term ROI.
Video Above All
Video is here to stay. More importantly, short-form video is here to stay. According to BridgeCare ABA, the average human attention span is 8.25 seconds. On social media, we’d argue it’s even shorter than that, so it’s important to create video content that immediately pulls a consumer in and gets the message across.
TikTok is a key platform to be utilized for any short-form video content. A major point of using TikTok to showcase video content is the prospective audience reach it can have. According to a 2023 Statista survey, “What makes TikTok marketing so appealing are the app’s striking download figures, audience reach, and impressive engagement rates of influencer content.” With that being said, brands can partner with macro influencers for a guaranteed wide reach; however, they shouldn’t completely ignore the micro and nano influencers on the platform. Any video has the potential to go viral and be seen by hundreds or thousands of people. It’s important to vet each influencer opportunity on a case-by-case basis to determine if they will work best for your marketing strategy.
Emphasis on Diversity and Representation
A major issue within influencer marketing is the lack of diversity and representation. It’s important now more than ever that we step up and speak out when it comes to diversity and representation, not only in the influencer world but in all aspects of our lives, to aid in creating a more welcoming and inclusive society.
Working with influencers from various backgrounds, identities, ethnicities, and experiences allows those who are generally misrepresented to visualize themselves in a world where they using the brand, visiting the destination, trying the product, or whatever it is your brand may do. Building these relationships will not only benefit your brand as it will allow you to reach a broader audience, but it will also create a safe space that recognizes cultural backgrounds and provides a place where people feel seen, heard, and accepted.
Social Searching Over Google Searching
More and more individuals are choosing to leverage platforms like Instagram and TikTok to search rather than traditional search engines, like Google or Bing, to do things like plan trips, find recipes, search for new clothes, and more. What’s that all about? Well, social media allows for a more visual, personalized, and first-person type of experience.
According to Epsilon, more than 40% of Gen Z searchers turn to TikTok or Instagram before resorting to a traditional Google search. If you recall from our previous blog post on marketing to Gen Z, there is no generation more fluent in the Internet given they are the generation to grow up as “digital natives.” As this number of searchers is expected to grow amongst all generations, it’s important to consider influencers for your advertising messages as social media platforms are where the next generation is going to find answers to their questions.
The influencer landscape has come a long way since it was first introduced, and marketers need to acknowledge that the landscape will continue to change as time goes on and technology becomes more advanced. Marketers should continue to find unique and creative ways to implement influencer marketing in their overall strategy to ensure they are meeting their goals and getting the best return on investment possible.