Influencer marketing has been on the rise over the past couple of years, with social media and other online UGC platforms growing rapidly, both in reach and influence. This has made influencer marketing an attractive proposition to launch and promote new products and services.
Marketers are able to drive engagement in partnership with leading content creators, as they lend an authentic voice to the brand.
With a global pandemic unraveling since last year, and consumer behaviors, needs, and disposable incomes seeing a drastic shift, marketers must adapt to these new conditions by revising their marketing goals and budgets.
Here are some influencer marketing trends brands can look forward to in 2022:
- Video content takes the spotlight
Video OTT content consumption has been on the rise since the initial lockdown, as most Indians replaced the free time in their schedules with digital entertainment.
According to Facebook, the number of their live streams shot up by 50% during the lockdown and generated 6X more engagement than a regular video. Instagram viewings also spiked by as much as 70%, and the recent boom in short video platforms such as Gaana HotShots, MX Takatak points towards the rising importance of long-form and short-form video content for marketers, especially in the F&B and hospitality space.
2. Long-term brand and influencer collaborations
With the Indian influencer ecosystem maturing, brands are poised to look at partnerships with content creators as more than a one-trick pony. Brands are more likely to work with content creators with longer-term contracts to systematically increase their reach and brand equity.
This means a marketer will spend more time carefully evaluating a creator based on common goals, values, and audience overlap. Longer contracts and strategic collaborations have also led to more innovative content formats, such as live streams, hashtag challenges, Instagram reels rather than a simple photo or endorsement. These newer formats offer influencers a more dynamic range to showcase partner products while weaving an entertaining narrative in order to drive higher bottom-of-the-funnel leads for the brand.
One of the trends from last year that is most likely to continue in 2021 is the launch of co-branded products. While some leading cosmetic and beauty brands have pioneered such practices, this practice has made its inroads into other sectors including electronics, F&B, clothing among others.
3. The rise of Nano and Micro-Influencers
While the word ‘influencer’ has been relegated to celebrities with massive followings, micro-influencers are an emerging beacon for brands. These influencers often have relatively smaller, but more committed followers, and offer higher ROI and engagement to brands.
Micro-influencers are also more likely to be authentic, innovative brand advocates. With their high trust and reliability among their followers, these micro-influencers make ideal partners for small brands who may not boast of fat annual marketing budgets but benefit from a micro-influencer’s authentic and relatable content.
4. Cause marketing & social responsibility
With the pandemic lowering consumption, consumer behavior is increasingly favoring brands whose principles align with theirs and staying away from those who are unwilling to authentically act and acknowledge workplace safety, inclusivity, and environmental impact.
This has made cause marketing with influencers more relevant for brands in 2021, and makes it even more vital in 2021 for brands and content creators to ensure a perfect fit to create a great first impression.
5. A hard look at marketing ROI
Influencer marketing has traditionally been focused on generating increased awareness, reach, and higher engagement. However, with social commerce set to grow in 2021, and consumers more likely to be influenced by online platforms in terms of purchase behavior, paid social media engagement paired with influencer outreach is more likely to drive leads for brands. Smaller brands are also likely to measure their return on investment in terms of content created by influencers to promote their products & services.