Influencer marketing is growing at a relentless pace, and its development is in direct proportion to the increase in demand for Instagram and TikTok. But the cloudless future of influencer promotion technologies has been spoiled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which in the blink of an eye slashed sales, and then advertising budgets of brands. What is happening now in the sphere of influence-content: how can companies and opinion leaders get the highest effect even during a crisis period?
This 2020th: Predictions and Reality
In early March, the Influencer Marketing Hub released an interesting report on influencer marketing forecasts for brands. So, by the end of 2020, the influence niche was supposed to grow to $ 9.7 billion, but already in the 2nd quarter of the year, despite the strengthening of the online presence of companies, there was not just stagnation, but a decline of almost 30% (according to SocialBakers).
Despite the active transition to online of both brands and their audience, already in April of this year, the effectiveness of interaction between the target audience and the publications of influencers decreased by 41%. This is an indicator of how selective consumers have become: of both content and product. According to analysts, the decline itself has been observed since November 2019, but, to be precise, such dynamics is more likely not a decline, but a transformation of the market. After all, this situation was not observed everywhere. According to the same SocialBakers report, promotion through opinion leaders in the healthcare sector showed an increase in efficiency by 4.2 times, in the financial segment – by 3.9 times, in telecommunications – by 3.8 times. So the influencer tools are still working.
What is currently trending influence and showing the best results?
1. Fewer budgets – “less” influencers. As a result of narrowing advertising budgets, even large brands have switched to the micromarket, that is, to opinion leaders with a narrow audience of 10 to 100 thousand subscribers. But the same trend shows higher results for niche businesses: over the past 16 months, 20% of interactions with opinion leaders were carried out precisely in the micro-influence environment. At the same time, according to InfluencerDb, audience engagement in advertising among micro influencers is 3.6% (with 1.5% engagement among celebrities and macro influencers). And the nano category, where the opinion leader and generally less than 10 thousand subscribers, accounts for a third of all active actions in favor of brands.
2. Instagram Stories are a hit of influence marketing. For example, 78% of companies said that Stories became the key content in attracting an audience to the brand, while 65% of companies noted Instagram Stories as influential as other brand activities on social networks. At the same time, 88% of influencers themselves note that stories began to appear in the feed as advertising more often, including at the request of partners. But stories are not even as effective as live content and online broadcasts (for example, Instagram Live). By the way, this trend comes from the fashion industry, where fashion shows are the best sales tool.
3. Power Shuffle: Brands are leaving TikTok. Given the special love for live communication with the audience, brands are also changing the channels of interaction. So, in just a year, the TikTok platform has grown into a powerful influencer trend, thanks to which it received 60 million downloads. Relying on the fact that the audience of the social network is predominantly (66%) people under 30 years old, brands with a narrow focus are trying to squeeze the maximum out of the network. As a result, 35% of companies with a dedicated marketing department are considered a key platform for live promotion, while 35% of influencers have already increased their interaction with the social network over the past year, according to the survey.
4. It’s important to love a brand. According to Tribe Dynamics, 44% of influencers are not willing to work with products if they have other favorites or haven’t tried them out. Therefore, 65% of brands have increased their compensation for influencer services with products. At the same time, self-care content became the leader during the period of quarantine restrictions (51%).
5. Fresh blood and shared values. Celebrity audiences value advertising less and less, more and more revealing feelings of “deception”. Despite the fact that celebrities will always be in the center of attention of “their” audience, in the absence of the same level of awareness of the advertised brands, a decent conversion and effect should not be expected. In addition, the public honors a sincere division of values, and, judging by some of the statements under the advertising posts, people cannot afford “… such a luxury.”
Yes, content personalization, micro-market focus, and live communication are really important tricks when dealing with influencer marketing. This is important, necessary and worth implementing right now. What will you take under the sights of these trends for your work?