Updated: Jan 4
Our digital-first era has amplified the power of influencers in a number of areas, from politics and products to makeup to marketing. The past two years have witnessed a rapid digital transition due to the pandemic. Global lockdowns were an overdue stimulus for the advertising industry and reinforced consumer preferences for online shopping. There have been many predictions as to what will happen in 2022. As consumer sentiment sees an uptick, media strategies that have worked for decades may no longer be effective. Amidst all this, influencer marketing continues to grow with a market value of $13.8 billion, more than double from 2019.
Evolving Consumer Orientation
"There are decades where nothing happens, and weeks where decades happen," the adage goes. The year 2020 was the latter. It brought to the fore the most connected generation to this date - Gen Z that accounts for 40% of all customers, spends three hours a day on social media, consuming and generating material, and, most importantly, looking for inspiration. TikTok and Instagram have gone mainstream, podcasts are now a part of our daily lives, and Instagram has evolved into a video-first, shopping-oriented platform. We have entered a new era of democratic media consumption, in which consumers decide what they want to listen to and who they trust. A comprehensive online offering is no longer optional because older audiences are progressively imitating this behaviour due to the pandemic.
First-party Data Surge
Previously, brands aggregated KPIs through screenshots of platforms provided by influencers. This just scratched the surface of data that has currently become available for analysis. Brands that engage in influencer marketing can now receive analytics data straight from the platforms. This is referred to as first-party data that includes metrics not visible to followers. This authenticated data offers enhanced campaign engagement metrics and demographics that companies need to demonstrate ROI. Not only that, but it also ensures a deeper and more accurate understanding of a creator's audience before the start of a campaign.
LinkedIn introduced creator mode in 2021 - a feature aimed at professionals looking to break into the influencer sphere. This mode enables leaders to make the most of their expertise while also focusing on community building on the platform. Brands should see this as leverage to tap into the reach and experience of LinkedIn influencers in their particular industries, as well as build cross-promotional relationships that take advantage of LinkedIn's broader effort to encourage content creation.
The power of influencer marketing is sky-high and most companies have jumped on the bandwagon. Recently, an authored article from the New York Times stated: “Don’t scoff at influencers. They are taking over the world”. Well, that’s indeed the truth. As we dive deeper into performance marketing, influencers will continue to create a critical barrier between a brand and its customers that is difficult to reproduce at scale in other media.