January 21, 2021
How Influencer Marketing is Changing in 2021
Out with the old, in with the new! 2020 was the most challenging year of the century, to say the least, but one thing that has been successful in the marketing industry and will continue to in the new year is influencer marketing. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, which shows that influencer marketing is here to stay. We’re ringing in the new year with five influencer marketing trends coming in 2021 that you can incorporate into your marketing strategies.
Racial Diversity and Inclusion
The Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 has led to consumers vocalizing some brands’ lack of diversity in their advertising and making purchasing decisions based on a brand’s social awareness. According to a study, 32% of survey respondents have purchased more products and services from businesses that are endorsed by influencers from different racial and cultural backgrounds. In 2021, we can expect to see companies showing more diversity and inclusion throughout their marketing, including the influencers they choose to represent their brands. By doing so, it demonstrates a company’s values and their commitment to connect with consumers of all backgrounds in an authentic way.
Long-Term Influencer Partnerships
In 2021, more companies will find it beneficial to invest in long-term vs. one-off influencer partnerships. A study by Crowdtap shows that 49% of influencers are likely to partner with a brand more than once if they are approached with relevant opportunities. Not only are influencers excited to continuously create content for companies, but it benefits the company as well, helping to build strong brand awareness, credibility, and rapport with the influencers and their audiences. One company that has successfully leveraged the power of long-term influencer partnerships is Gymshark, one of the most successful UK-based fitness apparel brands. Gymshark has become a £1billion+ company, partly due to its highly effective strategy of utilizing the power of social media fitness influencers (“Gymshark Ambassadors”) to create brand affinity and attract new consumers worldwide.
Social Media Shopping
During the pandemic, brick-and-mortar retail stores were shut down temporarily, forcing some businesses to consider social media as a new platform to drive online sales. Due to its convenience and accessibility to millions of potential consumers, we will see a rise in social media shopping this year and using influencer marketing to encourage product purchases. In addition to influencers directing their followers to the company’s website to make a purchase, they can, with social media shopping, include the products in their posts and profiles so their followers can make a purchase directly on social platforms. Instagram is one app that is changing the game in how companies sell and promote their products with the launch of Instagram Shop in 2020. Nearly four in five brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, and with the new in-app purchasing feature, using influencers as part of consumers’ social media shopping experience might become the “new normal” in 2021.
TikTok took off in 2020, with many people turning to the app for entertainment and its viral content during quarantine. Now, with TikTok predicted to reach 1 billion monthly active users this year, we will likely see companies investing in TikTok influencers to create relevant brand content. TikTok’s short-form video capabilities is what made the app so popular, and with online videos predicted to make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022, TikTok influencers are ahead of the game with their know-how of creating video content that grabs viewers’ attention. TikTok influencers are ideal if the company is targeting a younger demographic. Studies show that 41% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24, making these influencers the perfect brand ambassadors for Gen Z.
In a previous blog post, we mentioned the benefits of collaborating with nano- and micro-influencers. We will continue to see this trend in 2021, in addition to brands experimenting with alternative types of influencers: gaming influencers, kidfluencers, and even CGI-influencers. As of June of 2020, 51 virtual influencers have come to life on social media, and more will continue to emerge. Christopher Travers, the founder of VirtualHumans.org, stated that virtual influencers are cheaper to work than humans, are 100% controllable, and offer real business potential. One of the most popular virtual influencers on Instagram is Miquela Sousa. At almost 3 million followers and a fee of about $8,500 per sponsored post, Miquela is the highest earning virtual influencer and has worked with top fashion brands such as Prada, Dior, and Calvin Klein.
As the marketing industry continues to evolve in 2021, so will the way companies approach influencer marketing. Keep a look out for these trends in the upcoming year. Cheers to 2021!