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Influencer Marketing Agency Industry Trends

Our Predictions: The Biggest Influencer Marketing Trends You Should Look For in 2021

The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth a cumulative 15 billon dollars by 2022[1]. How prepared is your brand to compete with the internet’s most influential personalities promoting the world’s most influential brands?

Here are the top trends in influencer marketing campaigns that we expect to see in 2021.

 

Prediction #1. Video Content Will Continue to Dominate Influencer Marketing

Some  companies are dropping the majority of their marketing budget on video marketing. Data shows that consumers spend 88% more time on websites that have video, and that video content is 1200% more likely to be shared than text or images[2]. Astronomical engagement rates for video high quality video content means more brands and influencers will be sharing content on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Instagram Stories than ever before.

Other types of video marketing include:

  • Video testimonials
  • Unboxing videos
  • Tutorials
  • Vlogs (video blogs)
  • Interviews
  • Short form entertainment videos
  • Video ads
  • Live streams

 

Each of these types of video content can be used as part of an influencer marketing campaign.

How popular is video, exactly? Here are stats you need to know about video before you begin planning your influencer content:

More than Half of Modern Brands Have Invested in Video as Part of their Digital Marketing Strategies

Recent studies reported that roughly 81% of brands are using some type of video as part of their digital marketing strategies, with 57% of brands using social media platform’s “live” features.[3] These statistics show a huge shift in the future of influencer content. Smart brands adapt to what their audiences want; influencers who offer video promotion would be wise to adapt.

2/3 of Consumers Say That Their Purchasing Decisions are Influenced by the Video’s Voiceover

According to Wyzowl, 75% of consumers are swayed by the characters and voice in the video content they consume. According to their survey, 2/3 of people have decided to pass on a product simply because they did not like the voiceover in the video. Their findings showed that consumers much prefer a conversational, informal tone.

This is great news for brands looking to invest their marketing budget into influencer marketing. Influencers are personal brands, and connect with their audiences in a natural, or seemingly natural, way. Because a largely informal tone used by most influencers is likely to draw in a sale, successful digital marketing campaigns in 2021 will do well when utilizing influencers in their campaigns.

 

Prediction #2. It’s Not All About the Vanity Metrics: Engagement Rate Will Be Valued More Highly Than the Number of Followers

Great news for nano influencers and content creators with a smaller number of followers: engagement rates are going to be more highly valued as part of an influencer marketing strategy in 2021. According to a survey conducted by GlobalWebIndex, 96% of internet users in the United States and the United Kingdom who followed influencers on social media were engaging with them as much as — if not more — than they had prior to the pandemic[3].

What does this mean for influencers? This means brands are starting to place more emphasis on engagement rates and the quality of engagement over purely number of followers. As influencer marketing evolves, brands are paying attention to what an influencer’s followers are saying, how often they’re looking at posts,  Instagram stories, messaging, and more. Macro influencers and higher won’t be the only sought after influencers this year.

This means more sponsored content opportunities for nano influencers who have a small but niche audience of dedicated followers.

2021 is all about quality over quantity. Brands are now thinking long term marketing strategy and retaining the attention of an influencer’s sponsored content over general brand awareness campaigns.

As people spend more time on social media, they’re also likely to spend at least some of that time interacting with influencers. According to the May GlobalWebIndex survey, 96% of US and UK consumers who followed influencers were engaging with them more or to the same extent as before the coronavirus outbreak.

Prediction #3. Instagram Will Remain the Biggest Social Media Platform for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

There are influencers on every single social media platform, but Instagram reigns as king of the social media world when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns.  Instagram’s easy use, extremely high user base, and millennial and younger demographic make Instagram the most likely place for brands to drop their marketing budget.

Here are the top Instagram everyone preparing to launch influencer campaign should know:

  • Instagram has over 1Billion monthly users.
  • Only 14% of adults in the United States have not heard of Instagram
  • 140 million Instagram’s monthly users are US based, meaning 88% of Instagram’s user base is outside of the US.
  • Instagram’s Western European user base grew by 17% last year alone

 

These statistics indicate that influencer marketing campaigns have the potential to reach astronomical numbers of people all over the world, making influencer campaigns your opportunity for global brand awareness.

Why is Instagram so popular? Let’s take a deeper look.

Instagram is Easy to Use

Compared to older social media platforms, Instagram is by far one of the easiest to use.  From its easy login process to a straightforward way to both produce and post content, the app’s users can share content in a matter of minutes.

Attention Spans Have Dwindled, and Instagram Has Adapted

Originally, Instagram was designed for smartphone users only. The dawn of smartphones have made attention spans shorter and the need for instant gratification much more significant.  Instagram’s visually centered, quick-access, instant information and entertainment model has adapted perfectly to the modern day consumer.

Instagram Rivals Other Platform’s Content Model – and Does it Better

Apps like the video giant TikTok, Snapchat, and even YouTube have adapted to users’ affinity for short form videos — but Instagram took this idea and amplified its effect. Instagram users can create and post their short form videos directly on the app under Instagram’s “Reels” feature. The edge Instagram has over these other platforms, at least in 2021, is that they are rewarding their users for using the feature. Because Instagram wants users to use their platform over the competition, they have adjusted their algorithms so that Reels are getting maximum visibility.  Social media influencers from micro influencers to celebrity influencers are flocking to the Reels feature to grow their audiences.

Prediction #4: Influencer Fraud Will Remain a Common Problem

Not all influencer marketing trends can be positive.

Influencer fraud is a problem, and 67% of businesses share this sentiment. Brands are understandably weary when investing money in influencer marketing, especially if they don’t have an already established relationship with the influencer or they haven’t vetted the influencer in the right way.

So, what exactly is influencer fraud?

Influencer fraud is when a self-proclaimed influencer manipulates their accounts and their data in order to secure brand partnerships. The data is ‘faked,’ meaning that the money invested in the influencer campaign is wasted.

Influencer fraud can damage your brand, bleed your marketing budget dry, and set your campaign back weeks, months, and even longer.

How does an influencer manipulate their data?

Fraudulent influencers will often purchase followers and even engagement, giving the appearance of a large, active community.  Other forms of influencer fraud include posting fake ‘brand partnerships’ to make it look like the influencer is already active in the influencer marketing industry.

How can you spot a fraudulent influencer?

Brands can avoid investing in influencer marketing campaigns with fraudulent influencers by doing thorough research on the influencer in question. Before you invest in their content, check for the following:

  • What are the engagements like on their social media platforms? Are there comments? Are they more than a few words or emojis? Pay attention to the context and quality of the engagements on each post.
  • Are the accounts following them real, active accounts? To check this, visit multiple of their follower’s profiles. Check the age of their accounts, the number of followers each account has, how active they are on the account, and look for genuine engagement within their content.
  • Does the influencer have representation? Many influencers have established partnerships with influence marketing agencies. These agencies can provide history, receipts, and referrals from brands who have worked with the influencer in the past.
  • How professional is their marketing? When you ask for pricing, do they simply send over a flat fee or are their package rates for individual services or types of campaign? A fraudulent influencer often sends over a flat free price, takes the money, and doesn’t deliver any results.
  • Does it seem too good to be true? Like the adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Will the influencer provide references? If so, are these references legit? Are the email addresses and contact information they provide linked to a business? Will the influencer send over reports or results from past campaigns? Can those results be verified?

 

How Can You Avoid Influencer Fraud?

Beyond thoroughly researching and vetting potential influencers, working with an influencer marketing agency ensures that your investment in influencer campaigns doesn’t go to fraudulent influencers.

Influencer marketing is an investment. Protect your investment by enlisting the help of influencer marketing industry professionals.

Prediction #5. More Influencer-Brand Partnerships Will Moved to a Campaign Based Model

A lot of influencer marketing campaigns have historically involved a long term partnership between an influencer and a brand, but more and more brands are moving to an individual campaign model. Instead of ingoing influencer marketing campaigns that audiences may start becoming ‘add bling’ to, an individual campaign can help build more hype around brands.

Some examples of individual campaigns are:

  • A promotion surrounding the release of a product
  • An event, whether in person or online
  • A brand launch
  • An awareness campaign during the holiday shopping season

 

Making an ‘event’ out of an influencer campaign drives engagement, increases brand awareness in rapid bursts instead of slowly over time, and creates the feeling of exclusivity.

Running a successful campaign includes a complete strategy from ideation from implementation, and requires the full commitment and participation of the influencer themselves, the brand, and any other marketing team members.  One-off influencer campaigns are tedious, fast-paced, and depend on the coordination of every participant.

Prediction #6: More Employees of Brands Will Act Influencers

Consumers are loyal to brands that they feel a connection to. Thanks to the internet, more and more companies are emerging every day, meaning stiffer competition across all industries. With more intense competition comes the need for marketing departments to create long term strategies that both bring in and retain customers. What better way to do that than create a connection between your brand and the consumer?

Many big name brands are beginning to use their actual employees as the face of their businesses. This gives the human element to even the most faceless corporations.

An FAQ: What You Need to Know Before Launching Influencer Campaigns in 2021

Before your brand invests the time and money into these influencer marketing trends, it is important to have a firm grasp on what influencer marketing is, how influencer marketing works, why it is beneficial to your business, and the overall outlook of the influencer marketing industry.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about influencer marketing:

How big is the influencer marketing industry?

The Influencer marketing industry has experienced significant growth over the past three years, growing from a 6.5 billion dollar industry to a 13.8 billion dollar industry between the years of 2019 to the 1st quarter of 2021..[4] By 2022, the influencer industry is expected to be worth 15 billion dollars.

This data shows a steady uptick, meaning that brands that intend to compete (and win) need to consider how influencer marketing fits within their long term marketing strategies.

The quick answer? The influencer marketing industry is huge — and it’s only going to get bigger.

What companies use influencer marketing?

Yes, even some of the biggest brands in the world build and sustain their relevance with influencer marketing (and for some, that’s why they’re still the biggest brands in the world). Some of the big name brands that have used influencer marketing in the past include:

  • Nickelodeon
  • MTV
  • Payless
  • Community Coffee
  • Goldtoe
  • Southwest Airlines

The above list are companies that  partnered with HireInfluence to create campaigns that elevated their brand, activated target audiences, and earn next-level brand loyalty.

Global brands aren’t the only ones implementing influencer campaigns as part of their digital marketing strategies. Even startups run by solopreneurs, small ecommerce shops, and Mom and Pop shops have recognized the power that influencers have over affinity audiences.

There are influencers for brands of every size, from nano influencers and micro influencers to mega influencers and celebrities.

Who are the world’s biggest influencers?

The world’s biggest influencers can be split into two categories: Celebrity Influencers and Mega Influencers. Celebrities are influencers as a side effect of their celebrity status, whereas mega influencers rose to popularity via by creating content that built their communities, positioning them as celebrities in their own right.

The top five celebrity influencers include:

  • Ariana Grande
  • The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)
  • Kylie Jenner
  • Kim Kardashian West
  • Selena Gomez

You likely recognize every name, or most of the names, on this list and can associate each name with their other claims to fame, like movies, makeup lines, and music.

Five of the top mega influencers include:

  • Amanda Cerny (@amandacerny)
  • Zach King (@zachking)
  • Liza Koshy (@lizakoshy)
  • James Charles (@jamescharles)
  • Nikkie de Jager (@nikkietutorials)

 

Collectively, this list of mega influencers has a total of over 100 million followers. These mega influencers are in exceptionally high demand, making their time more difficult to book.

The number of followers an influencer has, however, doesn’t always correlate with how effective an influencer marketing campaign will be.  Brands that have products, services, or events that cater to very specific audiences would not likely see as much of a return on investment with an influencer campaign involving mega influencers. Niche brands typically do well with influencers that have audiences that match their niche exactly.

Influencer marketing is much like any other form of marketing: advertising to the right audience is the biggest factor in a successful campaign.

What are the different influencer levels?

Influencer categories range from influencers with 100 followers to influences with over 1 million followers:

  • Nano-influencers (Followers: 1,000 – 10,000)
  • Micro-influencers: (Followers 10,000 – 50,000)
  • Mid-tier influencers: (Followers 50,000 – 500,000)
  • Macro-influencers: (Followers 500,000 – 1,000,000)
  • Mega-influencers: (Followers 1,000,000)

As mentioned previously in this article, just because an influencer has a large follower count, it doesn’t mean that you will see a huge return investment. It is important to do in-depth research on any influencer you are interested in working with to ensure that they are not fraudulent.

What kind of categories of influencers are there?

There is an influencer for virtually every niche. Some of the most popular influencer categories are fitness, gaming, makeup, fashion, lifestyle, and travel.

How do  I know what kind of influencer I need for my campaign?

The answer to this is very much niche vs. reach and what fits your brand, industry, and objectives.

To figure out what kind of talent you should hire for your influencer marketing campaign, consider the following:

  • What is the ideal client personality?
  • Where do my potential clients spend their time online?
  • What are the demographics of my current client base?
  • Are you trying to expand into other demographics, or are you trying to reach the demographic that you know is interested in your offer?
  • Does what you’re offering appeal to everyone, or a very small counterculture?

 

How much of my marketing budget should I allocate to influencer marketing?

Experts agree that a good rule of thumb is to allocate 25% of your overall marketing budget to influencer marketing. Because influencer marketing has seen such a rise in popularity due to its great ROI, marketers and brands alike are beginning to set aside 1/4 of their entire annual marketing budgets to influencer campaigns.

Does influencer marketing have a good return on investment?

If done correctly, influencer marketing has a high return on investment. Let’s look at several reasons why:

Influencer marketing is digital word of mouth advertising

No one markets a product better than someone who has had a great customer experience. Because influencers of all sizes have sway over their followers, and social proof is an extremely powerful marketing method.

Influencer marketing is highly targeted

The most successful influencer marketing campaigns are the ones that cater to highly targeted audiences. Unlike traditional paid ads where a brand advertises to a large group of faceless people, influencer marketing allows a brand to see the immediate reactions of the influencer’s audience in response to the promotion. And, if the influencer’s niche closely aligns with your own, those responses will be in the form of ads to cart and credit card swipes.

Influencers are directly connected with Millennials and Gen Z

Over 60% of brands that cater to the wants and needs of the younger generations have invested in influencer marketing. Why? Because millennials and gen Z are more connected to technology than any other generation.

Most Millennials or Gen Z-ers have at least one social media account, spend hours per day scrolling through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and are accustomed to online purchases. Influencer marketing is to the younger generations what celebrity endorsements are to Gen X and above.

How can you measure the results of influence marketing promotions?

The results of an influencer campaign can be measured in multiple way:

  • Immediate sales
  • Website traffic
  • Growing social channels
  • Additional press
  • Revenue over the next several months

Influencer Marketing: Trend or Here to Stay?

The statistics show huge growth in the influencer marketing industry, and data indicate that the market isn’t slowing down. Influencer marketing is where modern brand awareness campaigns are going, and we expect to see our 2021 influencer marketing trend predictions come to fruition.

Achieve Next-Level Brand Loyalty With Influencer Marketing

There is a reason that some of the biggest brands in the world invest in influencer marketing: it works. Brands that want to establish their longevity in the market are adapting to modern marketing techniques, which have a laser focus on influencers. At HireInfluence, we create massively powerful influencer marketing campaigns to cement your brand as a cornerstone in your industry and generate revenue in both the immediate and the long term.

Contact a member of our team and find out why some of the biggest brands in the world choose HireInfluence as their influencer agency partner.

 

 

Sources

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/influencer-marketing-report