By Madeleine Mak
Global rises in digital consumption have propelled influencer marketing to new heights. Built on authenticity and driven by innovation, the industry is forecasted to hit $15 billion USD by 2022. Curious about the trends fueling this vibrant space in 2021? Let’s find out!
Video Continues to Reign Supreme
From TikToks and Instagram Reels to livestreams and virtual events, video is shown to bring 49% more engagement than standard image posts. Interestingly, marketers see Instagram Stories as the most effective social video used by creators. This is followed by YouTube and Instagram video. As brands and advertisers seek creative ways to connect with audiences, video will undoubtedly rise to the challenge.
Audio Emerging as a Strong Contender
45% of Gen-Z and Millennials in South East Asia consider audio a powerful medium for storytelling and well-being. Unsurprisingly, audio is emerging as a viable channel for influencers to meaningfully engage with niche audiences. In 2020, Spotify signed over 20 exclusive podcast deals with creators in the likes of TikTok star Addison Rae, thought-leader Michelle Obama and celebrity Joe Rogan. While untraversed, the blossoming audio influencer space will introduce exciting new ad formats and forms of branded content to explore.
Value-Driven Content Essential
In the wake of global uncertainty, purposeful and value-centered content became central to influencer messaging. Notably, 64% of audiences claimed to have selected, switched and boycotted a brand based on its stance on social and environmental issues alone. Transparency, consistency, and commitment are necessary to ensure value-driven content is not performative. This is advocated for by 71% of influencers who see authenticity as necessary to keep audiences engaged.
Charmed by Unlikely Influencers
Say hello to the unconventional new kids on the block! From cute Maru the Shiba and viral J-Dog, to cool girl Ava Gram, these pet, elderly, and virtual influencers are providing fresh ways to captivate audiences. We also can’t forget the allure of employees. For example, TikToker Dylan Lemay, who has amassed over 7.1M followers while documenting his shifts at the popular US-based ice cream chain, Cold Stone Creamery.
Data Driven Everything
Influencer fraud was a top concern for 34% of marketers in 2020. Creator and vendor selection was also flagged as major sources of contention. Due to this, the use of in-depth data and insights to benchmark, plan, and monitor influencer content is imperative. Landmark AI-driven influencer marketing solutions, such as GroupM’s INCA, are at the forefront with specialized tools and innovative proprietary technologies to help guarantee brand safety.
Create incremental impact by repurposing organic influencer content across paid and owned media channels. Whether it be a banner or Facebook ad, brands who recognize this opportunity can harness the authentic relatability of user-generated content to extend reach across masses of relevant audiences.
Commerce Going Social
87% of online shoppers look to social media to inform purchase decisions. 40% have bought a product recommended by an influencer. Reacting, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are accelerating integration of social commerce features on its platforms. With 30% of users open to direct purchases on social media, creators, who audiences have existing affinities with, stand as an obvious go-to for brands to hone into these new capabilities and inspire conversions.
Madeleine Mak is the APAC Client Development Executive at INCA