The global health crisis of 2020 has dramatically changed the way we use social media, exploding the use of influencer marketing over traditional marketing. It is believed that this trend will not stop anytime soon. So what does influencer marketing have in store for us in 2022?
Influencer marketing: definition
An ever-increasing number of companies are shifting more of their marketing budgets to influencer marketing. Recently released figures show the industry’s value has more than doubled since 2019, from $6.5 billion to $13.8 billion in just three years.
And this trend is not about to slow down. The estimate is that the influencer industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from $8 billion in 2019.
Why ? Simply because influencer marketing has enormous potential. By definition, this process involves using external content creators, or influencers, to defend and interact with your brand message. As part of this, influencers present their content to their audience, increasing brand awareness and helping to convert their audience into customers.
According to the data:
- 17% of companies spend more than half of their marketing budget on influencers;
- 80% of users have purchased a product or service based on an influencer’s recommendation;
- Two-thirds of consumers use ad blockers, but the same people are happy to take advice from influencers.
However, influencer marketing is not limited to Instagram posts or YouTube videos. It may include:
- Content (video, blog articles, advertisements) on social networks disseminated by the influencer;
- Reviews of products on social networks;
- Product placements in creative content (with or without direct mention of the influencer);
- Sharing brand campaigns and launching new products;
- Sharing a unique promo code so the influencer’s audience can get a great deal;
- Partnering with the influencer to create a co-branded product or campaign;
- Giveaways on influencer platforms;
- Promoting events that the influencer or brand will attend.
Influencer marketing is therefore closely related to social media marketing, as most opinion leaders gather their audience on social networks. Even better, influencer marketing lets you reach people you can’t reach with traditional advertising.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the top emerging trends in 2022.
Influencer Marketing Trends in 2022
1. Data-driven influencer marketing
To keep pace with the rapid development of the influencer marketing industry, a data-driven approach to the channel is increasingly important. Data-driven influencer marketing gives you greater efficiency and generally higher returns. As audience feeds become increasingly saturated, data will become key to influencer marketing success in 2022 and beyond.
2. Optimization of e-commerce functionalities
Although more comfortable with in-store shopping, consumers still rely on e-commerce to meet their shopping needs. Over the past few years, more and more social networks have added features that create new seamless shopping experiences for consumers. Each user has a tailor-made algorithm to show him products that apply to his lifestyle. Products can also be tagged in posts, just like tagged people. These small tweaks make it easier than ever for consumers to find product information and buy directly.
3. Permanent (long-term) influencer marketing
A short-term approach has always been something of a norm in influencer marketing. One-off campaigns lasting a few weeks or even a few days are not uncommon. However, more and more companies are moving away from campaign-based influencer marketing in favor ofan ever-active strategy to ensure that you appear in the feeds (and lives) of your consumers during their “times of need”. It also allows you to do the groundwork over time to ensure you’re at the top of the list when consumers make the switch to purchase.
4. Employees as influencers
A product of evolution and innovation, as well as a consequence of the need for authentic content in the space of influencer marketing, is the encouragement of employees to act as influencers.
In the past, we have seen various examples of User Generated Content (UGC) and how it can have a huge impact on sales and overall brand perception. Employee-directed or employee-generated content works the same way. Specifically, when an employee endorses their brand, theendorsement seems more genuine. Additionally, since employees are already involved in content, marketing, and business operations, the result adds reliability and confidence to the campaign. H&M, L’Oréal and Starbucks are a few examples of brands taking advantage of employee advocacy programs.
5. Social justice in marketing
2020 has been a year that has brought about significant change in the way consumers think, shop and entertain. Along with historic events such as barrier gestures and inevitable economic uncertainty, social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have come to the fore.
Until today, most brands have chosen to avoid hot topics of politics or social justice, or simply remain silent. But now, silence is perceived as the equivalent of complicity. Consequently, more and more brands will realize this lack of equality and diversity in influencer marketing. Social platforms Instagram and TikTok in particular have already given prominence to the anti-black and anti-fat movements.
6. Podcast brands and influencers
Brands will also partnership with podcast influencers a priority. Non-musical audio has exploded as a content consumption format since the global pandemic of 2020. As users flocked to podcasts to find content to entertain and occupy them during lockdown, more and more influencers and content creators have started adding audio as a medium to reach their audience. Partnering with podcast influencers gives brands the opportunity to get their name and products out to knowledgeable, high-income consumers. Among them, 94% are active on at least one social media channel and 54% have already considered buying a product they intend to promote on a podcast.
7. Direct purchases
This is an influencer marketing trend that has taken hold in recent years where influencers create social commerce posts and make the content 100% buyable. To make the process easier, social networks offer several features for live shopping experiences. Facebook and Instagram, for example, rolled out live shopping features this year designed to streamline and boost social commerce. Meanwhile, Amazon and Pinterest offer similar features that allow brands to partner with talented influencers to create engaging livestreams.
2022 will also see brands become much savvier about how they work with influencers. In any case, they must define their objectives and make authenticity a priority. One thing is certain, influencer marketing has become a mainstream marketing methodology that is growing rapidly. Being one of the big trends of the coming year, it is therefore essential to include influencer marketing in your strategy for 2022!