8 December 2021
Influencer Marketing is ever-changing. Over the years, digital technologies have developed and innovations have emerged, providing influencers with an evolving outlet to express themselves authentically; an attribute which resonates well with audiences.
Today, this influence is being realised by marketers more and more. In a survey conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, 90% of respondents indicated that they believe influencer marketing to be effective. Thanks to the growing acknowledgement of the role influencer marketing plays in the wider mix, we no longer need to ask the question, why use it, instead we ask how to use it.
So, as we approach the new year, we thought we would take a closer look at factors likely to push the influencer marketing industry forward. Here are our top influencer marketing trends to watch in 2022.
The metaverse meets influence
Facebook officially changed its name to ‘Meta’, a move which stems from the company’s long-term plans to build the next big thing: the metaverse. Although not yet fully realised, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse is an immersive and interactive digital space where we don’t simply consume content, but instead we are right in the middle of it.
While there are many trends expected to emerge in 2022, all eyes are on the metaverse, with particular focus on how it might impact the influencer marketing space and what it could mean for brands in the new year and beyond. Communicating with followers and large established communities comes naturally to influencers, so we expect them to be the perfect candidates to attract more people to this virtual space. Influencer marketing is primed to lean into the possibilities that blockchain technology provides, be they NFT’s, crypto-currencies or crypto-tokens and in 2022, we will see the emergence of these technologies within the creator economy.
Burgeoning creator commerce capabilities
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed our way of life. As a result of yet another turbulent year, teemed with restrictions and lockdowns, we have become increasingly reliant on technology, giving rise to a pandemic-driven boom in e-commerce. According to eMarketer, the social commerce market surged 37.9% to $26.77 billion in 2020, and forecasts that social commerce sales in 2022 will reach $44 billion, in the US alone.
Major social platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest are responding to this change in behaviour, dedicating significant ongoing development and resources to commerce capabilities. Take TikTok for instance. At its first ever product showcase event, TikTok World 2021, the video-sharing platform revealed a range of new features, including ‘Instant Pages’ and ‘Pop-up Showcase’, which were designed to improve brand and creator collaboration and drive specific attributable actions from consumers.
The power of influencer recommendation coupled with the rise of e-commerce and continued investment in social shoppability means influencer marketing holds strong potential to drive sales for brands in the near future. Intelligent content distribution and leading commerce technology should be the top considerations for brands whose goal is to convert influencer followers into consumers.
QVC-like live shopping could become a staple in social commerce
Keeping with the topic of ‘e-commerce’, influencer live shopping offers brands a way to tap into an engaged audience and drive immediate impact. Drawing inspiration from television channels like QVC, live shopping puts clients’ brands and products at the heart of a sales-oriented content experience, fronted by influencers as “presenters.”
On platforms such as Pinterest and Amazon Live, the influencer will record a live stream discussing their favourite products in an authentic, conversational way that is familiar to their followers. This longer form content provides an efficient way to deliver specific details about a product to an audience that is preconditioned to receiving a sales pitch, which means less resistance from the consumer.
This form of marketing is designed to streamline the path to purchase. It connects brands to consumers in a place where their target audience is spending more and more time for product information, usability, and recommendations. We believe that live shopping will become increasingly more prevalent and used more frequently in influencer marketing in 2022.
Content amplification will become crucial
Brands invest heavily in content generation. The question is, how do we make content investment work harder for brands? One answer is content amplification. Boosting content, using platform integrations and partnerships, helps to maximise reach and engagement beyond organic audiences.
This type of advanced distribution drives further scale outside of a creator’s organic network, using a combination of influencer-generated content and other paid channels such as social media and even digital out of home (DOOH) or connected TV (CTV). This can deliver more quantifiable results; top, mid and lower funnel marketing objectives and furthermore, better ROI from the influencer relationship.
More focus on ROI
This leads onto the theme of data-driven decision making quite nicely. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, one-third of marketers admit that they do not measure ROI from their influencer campaigns. As influencer marketing becomes more prominent within the marketing mix and used more extensively to deliver meaningful outcomes, measuring ROI becomes paramount.
With the proliferation of social media and creator capabilities, we expect brands to become smarter, more insights-focussed and data driven to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by influencer marketing, and to maximise their operational and media efficiency.
More brands embracing ’Always-On’
Influencer marketing shouldn’t be thought of as an ‘add-on’, but an important ongoing investment. Building trust with followers through continuity will create a long-lasting impression and prolonged brand awareness. An ‘always-on’ strategy will also give you more insight into your customers as you can assess content, creator and audience data as it fluctuates over time. This will help to generate insights which will inform and strengthen your marketing strategy overall.
Next year, we should see a larger number of marketers using influencer marketing more effectively, developing a deeper appreciation of how influencer marketing fits into the overall mix and how it can complement longer term strategies.