The year 2020 will have further accentuated the importance of social networks in our daily lives. An impact that brands are of course aware of and that they want to build on through these new ambassadors, the influencers.
Alexander Frolov, CEO, and co-founder of HypeAuditor gives here his forecasts on influencer marketing developments to watch closely in 2021 …
Brands will continue to reduce their offline marketing budget to fund their digital marketing.
Brands and advertisers are looking for the most effective ways to target their audiences when it is more difficult to engage with consumers offline.
One of the few ways for advertisers to authentically connect with their audience is through social media. As a result, we believe influencer marketing will experience significant growth next year.
According to HypeAuditor estimates, the global Instagram influencer marketing market will grow 15% in 2021, to reach $ 5.86 billion, compared to an estimated $ 5.095 billion by the end of 2020.
For comparison, in 2019 the global Instagram influencer marketing market capitalization reached $ 5.24 billion.
This year, spending on influencer marketing will not have increased as much as in 2019.
However, taking these figures into context, this slight drop is not spectacular, especially when you take into account the sharp cuts in budgets that other sectors have experienced.
The phenomenon of micro or nano-influencers is not new but continues to develop at a rapid pace.
With a more limited but also more targeted audience and thanks to their level of engagement often higher than influencers with a greater number of followers, microphones or nano-influencers are ultimately more influential.
On the other hand, because these influencers create their own content and directly manage their accounts, they can convey a more personal and authentic tone that resonates with their followers. It’s also easier for brands to get in touch with them.
In 2020, 46.4% of brand mentions with the hashtag #ad were posted by Instagram accounts with between 1,000 and 20,000 followers (classified as micro-influencers).
In 2021, HypeAuditor predicts that more brands will collaborate with micro-influencers, and the paid placement share featuring #ad will increase to 50%.
As a result, with brands opting for deeper partnership strategies, influencers will specialize more on a particular topic. Thus influencers developing more generic content will become scarce.
The reputation of brands is certainly very important, especially if they are large groups.
It is not uncommon for companies to be reluctant to cooperate with influencers, especially given the existence of fake influencers, lack of professionalism, and difficulties in measuring return on investment from partnerships.
According to data from HypeAuditor, on average 16.85% of influencers’ followers are bots or non-authentic accounts, of which 18.94% are classified as followers of “mass-following”, a technique that aims to artificially grow the number of followers by massively subscribing to more than 1,500 accounts, more or less targeted, in the hope that some of the managers of these accounts will subscribe in return (follow back) to the account.
HypeAuditor notes, however, that some brands are now paying more attention to the choices of their influencers. Indeed, the brands that get the best results from influencer marketing are the ones that take the time to research the influencers most relevant to their campaigns.
In 2021, brands will put more emphasis on this point, not only to protect against potentially fraudulent partnerships but also to ensure that collaboration with influencers is tailored to marketing goals.
Brands can rely on technology to conduct more precise searches.
Artificial intelligence is already being used to gain deeper insight into influencers, and the data collected will become more and more precise over time, providing greater transparency to marketers.
The success of TikTok is not a sufficient indicator to explain the popularity of short videos. On the other hand, it is mainly the fact that Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, WeChat, and Byte also bet on this format.
Influencers are using these short videos very effectively.
Whether it’s throwing hashtag challenges on TikTok or offering makeup tutorials on IGTV, this format clearly offers content creators a more dynamic and personalized way to engage with their followers.
In many ways, video is a better format for tutorials, Q&A sessions, or for sharing tips.
This type of content is particularly popular with beauty influencers, career trainers, wellness experts, and other categories of trendy influencers.
Brands will continue to follow this trend in 2021, devoting more time and effort to creating short videos instead of images on social media platforms, which will increase their levels of engagement.
In 2021, TikTok will undoubtedly be recognized as one of the most important consumer marketing platforms. However, brands will have to take several key points into account.
First, TikTok is aimed at a younger audience than other platforms, and therefore an audience with no real purchasing power.
24.10% of TikTok’s female audience is between the ages of 18–24 and 15.38% of the male audience is between the ages of 25–34. These two age groups are respectively the most important on the platform.
Third, for many marketers, identifying the most relevant “TikTokers” and assessing their impacts is not always easy.
This can be explained by the fact that this platform is relatively new, therefore there are not yet many precedents for making basic comparisons.
Finally, some content posted on this platform can be considered provocative, which is why some brands will not use this platform in their influence strategy.
Gone are the days when influencer marketing was a “one-off” strategy.
In 2021, influencers will more and more often be engaged in permanent contracts.
One way for brands to ensure the loyalty of the influencers with whom they work, but also of their followers.
Thus, brands will change their strategy. Instead of activating and deactivating several influencers on different campaigns, marketing professionals will work more and more with influencers according to their authenticity and their ability to build trusting relationships with their followers over the long term.
For this reason, influencer marketing will increasingly be based on the performance of partnerships.
Budgets for influencer strategies will see a significant increase, but with the increased investment will come equally rigorous scrutiny of each influencer’s performance and return on investment.
Once again, the use of technologies to deeply measure the impact of influencer marketing will play an increasingly important role in obtaining more accurate data, which has been lacking until now.
So-called “virtual” influencers have grown considerably and are becoming more and more attractive to brands.
HypeAuditor data shows that engagement generated by virtual influencers is nearly three times greater than human influencers.
Technology now makes it possible to create such lifelike avatars with unique personalities sharing moments of “life” that make their audiences feel connected to them.
The advantage for brands is that these fictional characters are, of course, more profitable than actual influencers. On the other hand, brands are guaranteed to never have any disagreements with these influencers!
In 2021, HypeAuditor, therefore, predicts that virtual influencers will be more present with more and more brands using them to promote their products.
However, there is growing talk of the need to regulate virtual influencers to ensure that advertising rules are followed.
The Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority, which helps structure influencer marketing in France, considers, for example, that these avatars raise ethical and deontological questions.
In the United States, voices are being raised against the fact that these fictional characters do not comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations because they cannot truly experience the product they are promoting.
For these reasons, the rise in popularity of virtual influencers will necessarily be accompanied by stricter regulations, so that the public will know whether they are facing a human or an avatar …