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Influencer marketing is a dynamic industry that is continuously evolving. To keep pace with the industry, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for the latest influencer marketing trends. After all, you need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the market.
The strategies that worked for you for last year might not yield the same results this year. Before you launch another influencer marketing campaign, make sure you know what’s new in the industry.
What Are the Top Influencer Marketing Trends You Should Know?
To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of the trends that have been making waves in the industry. Here are some of the latest influencer marketing trends you need to keep your eye on:
Influencer Marketing Trend #1: Nano and Micro-Influencers are Making an Impact
Influencer marketing isn’t just about the number of followers anymore. It’s also about engagement and relatability.
Because of this influencer marketing trend, micro-influencers and nano-influencers are making a huge impact.
Despite having a small follower count, they typically have an audience base that is highly engaged. Which means they can help you lower your cost per conversion.
Even big brands like Daniel Wellington have jumped in on this influencer marketing trend to promote their products in different locations around the world.
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For each industry and niche, there are tons of micro-influencers and nano-influencers you can collaborate with. This influencer marketing trend was popular in 2019 and is here to stay.
Influencer Marketing Trend #2: Twitch Influencer Marketing is on the Rise
To keep up with the changing influencer marketing trends, it’s important to look beyond Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
In 2019, marketers are experimenting with new platforms for influencer marketing. And so far, the hottest new influencer marketing trend is shows that the popularity of Twitch is on the rise.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a platform that allows influencers to stream live videos of whatever they are doing. On the platform, influencers can stream videos of gaming, cooking, painting, music, and other activities.
If you are unfamiliar with the platform, it may be hard to grasp why this influencer marketing trend is picking up.
At first glance, Twitch may sound a lot like YouTube. However, Twitch aims to provide a community experience to their users. So, they do not allow sponsored links on their platform.
To advertise, brands can either sponsor a tournament or an influencer’s gaming session. Brand mentions and sponsored videos are another rising influencer marketing trend on Twitch.
Twitch began as a platform to support gaming streams, but it has expanded beyond that. It’s catching the attention of brands in the food and beverage industry as well.
The collaboration between UberEats and Twitch influencer, Tyler Blevins, was a huge success in 2018. In just one day, they received so many responses that UberEats had to end the offer prematurely.
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As a part of the campaign, Blevins played the game, Fortnite, while streaming it live on Twitch. For every kill that he managed to get, UberEasts would offer a discount of 1%. He had to finish this task before the brand delivered food to his place.
At the end of the time limit, Blevins was able to win a discount of 25% for his fans. After the gaming session, fans worldwide could avail a discount of 25% using the code NINJAMOS.
Because of the overwhelming response, UberEats decided to roll back the offer at the end of the day. Initially, the campaign was supposed to go on for three days. This kind of a massive response that UberEats got shows how Twitch is set to become a goldmine for marketers.
Twitch is a relatively new platform, so not many brands and marketers are aware of it. If you’re an early bird, you can leverage this influencer marketing trend to your advantage.
Influencer Marketing Trend #3: Influencers are Creating More Audio and Video Content
Since last year, there has been a shift in the type of content that influencers create. Instead of publishing only sponsored posts, influencers are creating more videos and podcasts.
So, this influencer marketing trend doesn’t really come as a surprise if we look at content consumption trends worldwide.
Why is this?
Videos are more engaging than text and images. They’re an excellent tool for brand communication as well. This is evident from the fact that 67% of people say that they watch videos from brands and businesses.
Similarly, podcasts are also gaining popularity. According to a study, four in ten Americans tune into podcasts. Additionally, 24% of listeners said they had listened to a podcast in the last month.
As the consumption of videos and audio is rapidly increasing, brands are capitalizing on this influencer marketing trend. They are collaborating with influencers for their podcasts or video series. It’s an easy way to seamlessly tap into the target audience of the influencers.
Podcasts and video series provide a space for interaction between influencers and their audiences. It’s a great platform to review or promote a product because of the personal connection involved.
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Joe Rogan, one of the most popular podcasters on YouTube, promotes different brands at the beginning of each of his podcasts. While his advertisements are not available on YouTube, listeners who check out his website get to hear the promotional segment for each episode.
He has partnered with brands like Dollar Shave Club, DDP Yoga, Zoom Video Conferencing, and others.
Influencer Marketing Trend #4: CGI Influencers Are Here
Have you heard of CGI influencers?
Well, they are the latest stars in the world of influencer marketing. CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery influencers. While they aren’t real, it’s difficult to tell them apart from real-life influencers.
Designers, programmers, and social media managers work in-sync to give life to CGI influencers. On their social media profiles, you can see them hanging out at picturesque locations and stating their opinions on social issues.
CGI influencers open up new possibilities for influencer marketing. They make sure that brands have complete control over how their stories are showcased. From captions to planning posts, they have a say in everything.
Realizing the potential that they hold, brands are collaborating with CGI brands already. UGG collaborated with Lil Miquela, one of the most popular CGI influencers, for their 40th anniversary. Apart from this, Lil Miquela has also partnered with luxury brands like Diesel and Prada.
Image via Instagram
Not just that, GQ and Vogue have also featured her in their magazines. Her rising popularity shows how influencer marketing is set to change in many ways. This futuristic influencer marketing trend is not going away anytime soon.
Influencer Marketing Trend #5: Stricter Guidelines For Influencers
Another interesting influencer marketing trend to watch out for will be related to the regulations on the industry.
Watchdog groups and government agencies have raised concerns regarding transparency in influencer marketing.
The Federal Trade Commission has previously sent out letters to influencers who have failed to disclose their endorsements publicly. They are worried that consumers will be misled. So, to avoid the spread of misinformation, the government is tightening their reins on influencer marketing.
And for all we know, this influencer marketing trend is going to continue in the coming years.
Another concern that they have expressed is not disclosing complete information regarding a product. For instance, when Kim Kardashian promoted the morning sickness drug, Diclegis, she did not disclose its negative effects.
After the campaign received a lot of negative feedback, the US Food and Drug Administration got involved. Eventually, Kim Kardashian had to remove the post and uploaded another one detailing the risks involved in taking the drug.
No brand wants to invite a controversy or negative publicity. So, it’s in the benefit of all parties involved to maintain transparency.
What are some of the FTC guidelines?
It’s necessary for influencers to use hashtags like #sponsored or #ad for partnered posts. These guidelines are not going to change any time soon. If anything, they are likely to become stricter.
Whether you are a brand or an influencer, this influencer marketing trend is going to be one to watch out for.
Influencer Marketing Trend #6: Get Ready to See Employees As Influencers
Move over celebrities and influencers. As influencer marketing evolves, we’re seeing that many companies are trying innovative tactics for promotion. They are encouraging their employees to take up the role of influencers.
This influencer marketing trend challenges the fundamental definition of influencers and compels us to broaden our perspective on influencer marketing.
Think about it. When an employee backs their brand, their endorsement seems more genuine. They are involved with the inner workings of the company, so they also add a touch of loyalty and reliability to the marketing campaigns. That’s tough for a social media influencer to match.
Employees are already engaged with the content, marketing, and the back-end operations of the company. But we may seem them emerging as the faces of brands soon.
Want to know what makes this influencer marketing trend so good?
Brands can now get more say in how their influencer marketing campaigns are run if they are working with their employees. They can work more closely with their employees and be more involved in the overall process.
Macy’s in-house influencer program is a testament to this shift in roles. As a part of their program called, “Macy’s Style Crew,” 300 of their employees have also become brand ambassadors.
In June 2018, Marc Mastronardi, executive Vice-President of Business Development at Macy’s, explained the idea behind this radical strategy at a retail conference. “It’s easier to leverage assets that exist than creating something from nothing,” he said.
It’s a great influencer marketing trend that enables you to strengthen your relationships with your employees and get more visibility and content on social media.
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The program has a lot of incentives for their employees as well. When any employee joins the program, they can access most of the products in the store for free. Plus, for each sale made, the employees receive a commission. So, this influencer marketing trend means a win-win for all.
Other companies who have leveraged employee advocacy programs include H&M, L’Oreal, Reebok, Starbucks, MasterCard, and others.
Influencer Marketing Trend #7: Brands Will Maintain Long-Term Relationships With Influencers
Brands have to invest a lot of time and money into finding the right influencers to collaborate with. They need to filter influencers based on their reputation, values, the numbers of followers they have, their engagement rates, and other parameters. It can be long and tedious process.
As the number of influencers increases and the field gets more competitive, it’s tougher to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, it’s in the interest of brands to maintain long-term relationships with the influencers who match the criteria.
At the Digiday Brand Summit Germany, Adrien Koskas, L’Oreal Paris UK’s General Manager explained the emergence of this influencer marketing trend.
“When you work with influencers, you really have to start with a genuine relationship and make sure that they like your brand and products. Otherwise, it will show in content they create for your brand. We believe in long-term relationships with influencers,” he said.
What are the other benefits of nurturing long-term relationships with influencers?
Increased Trust: If an influencer promotes a product once and then stops mentioning it, the endorsement doesn’t seem convincing and genuine. It comes off as insincere.
On the other hand, if an influencer promotes a product multiple times, it shows that the influencer genuinely like the product.
Increased Commitment: A committed influencer is an asset for a company. When influencers know that they are going to work long-term with a company, they are more likely to contribute to its overall success.
Benefits of a Professional Contract: A professional contract is likely to follow any long-term collaboration between brands and influencers. It can be beneficial to both parties.
Expectations regarding payment and expected content are all given in writing. So influencers don’t have to worry about late payments. Similarly, brands don’t need to sweat over influencers pulling out of projects at the last minute.
Fashion retailer, ASOS, is keeping up with this influencer marketing trend. They have carefully selected a pool of influencers called “insiders.” They have a dedicated @asos insider account where they post photos and videos to promote the retailer.
They are more like brand ambassadors who continue to work with the company over a long period of time.
Image via Instagram
Influencer marketing is growing quickly and the rules of the game are constantly changing. If you want to survive, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest influencer marketing trends. In 2019, marketers can expect CGI influencers, nano-influencers, and Twitch to change the rules of the game.
Which other influencer marketing trends do you think will shape the industry this year? Please share your views in the comments below.