With all the movements in our social media landscape – from data privacy to Facebook declaring that “the future is private,” to Instagram’s experiment with hiding likes–digital marketing is finding itself at a crossroads. It’s “evolve or die," a time for adaptation.
This anxiety resonates all the more with influencers and influencer marketing. “How can we engage and advertise via social media celebrities when the system is limiting their following and making things more private?” one might ask.
However, just like how digital marketing adapted to Facebook changing their news feed algorithm by prioritizing organic shares from friends rather than pages early this year, so can influencer marketing.
Estimates show that influencer marketing is still on the rise, and isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, according to Forbes, 39% of marketers plan to increase their budgets for influencer marketing in 2020. And it is estimated that by 2020, the whole influencer marketing space will be a $10 billion business.
Your brand should not be complacent. With the changes in the landscape, even if influencers aren’t going away, there are still a lot of changes marketers must attune themselves to. Here’s what you need to know to keep up.
Nano-influencers and micro-influencers
The public space of social media will be growing more intimate in the years to come. As is the wave in the past years where celebrities were being supplanted by influencers, mega-influencers will be complemented by micro and nano-influencers.
Micro-influencers are generally considered as those with 10-50 thousand followers. Nano-influencers, on the other hand, are those with 1-10 thousand followers. According to Econsultancy, micro-influencers are projected to overtake high-follower influencers, as 61% of consumers say micro-influencers produce the most relatable content.
The shift here is two-pronged. While a huge number of followers may have been the standard in engagement metrics in the past, nowadays, “fake followers” are a pressing concern for influencer marketing.
In addition to this, exacerbated by the controversies of privacy today, audiences crave authenticity in the content they consume. This means looking to influencers who they are more closely associated with, whom they share a more intimate attachment too.
Storytelling is king
For audiences aged 18 to 34, 61% say that they have been swayed in their decision-making by influencers. Again, the main driver nowadays is authenticity. And influencers don’t get to be authentic by acting as vendors of marketers.
Social media platforms will be addressing this by regulating sponsored content by influencers. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has required influencers to use the hashtag #ad if their post is sponsored. This is expected to become the norm in the coming years.
To address this, marketers will be shifting their marketing approach. Instead of hard sells, they will be looking for influencers who can act as storytellers. They will not be mere billboards that brands can advertise on. Influencers will be deployed at more deliberately and with a greater chance for collaboration.
This means brands should be looking for influencers who are already talking about their brand in some capacity or are thematically aligned to a brand’s identity and values. This way, storytelling is more organic – more guiding and experiential – rather than selling.
This involves utilizing more Instagram stories, live videos on Twitter and Facebook, and even Tiktok for the gen Z market.
Experts warn that this will also change the metrics for influencers. Instead of likes and comments, factors such as time spent on platform, views, and engagement will be recorded. Furthermore, since video stories are more temporary than photos, this will also increase the frequency of posts.
Esports is rapidly growing into a multi-million dollar industry. More than just a hobby for fanboys, gaming is already putting itself in the same league as major league sports – now being played in giant arenas and watched by millions around the world, from all demographics.
Youtube and Twitch gamers are seeing their value rise. This growth of streaming audiences will lead to a diversification of marketing opportunities in gaming channels. In the coming years, more non-gaming brands will be tapping into a previously niche landscape.
Automation and better metrics
Part of the changes in influencer marketing is advancements in measurement.
Previously, influencers were still being given large one-off payments in the hopes of generating millions of impressions. However, with the maturation of the industry, value judgment is becoming more sophisticated as well.
Today, campaigns with influencers are more long-term and more organized. Platforms, for instance, can now automate the complex calculations of ROI in influencer marketing. This includes real-time monitoring of metrics such as cost-per-engagement and cost-per-impression.
And this is just the start. Expect more systems for assessing influencer success to be in place in the comings years.
Influencer marketing can be a tough nut to crack and there’s nothing wrong with looking for guidance. The digital world is an ever-changing place and you may need a viable platform to lead you to the right influencers that will best help your brand.
The GetCraft Marketplace is a good place to start, with thousands of influencers across categories. Click the button below to learn more.