Influencer Marketing in 2021: Top Trends and Influencing Factors

Influencers. Who comes to your mind the first? Kardashians or Neil Patel?

Today more than 93% of brands use Influencer Marketing in one or another way. This is one of the fastest-growing and promising fields of marketing.

Top 5 trends of Influencer Marketing

The market is changing faster than anything else in the marketing industry. So what trends have been raised over the last year?

Declining prices for cooperation with bloggers

This year, the global influencer marketing market was expected to grow to $9.7 billion. The pandemic slightly changed the plan: at the beginning of the first lockdown, the bloggers’ audience grew by 80% (from January to April 2020). However, surprise-surprise, brands began to freeze cooperation agreements. That is why popular bloggers had to reduce the cost of their services to about a third.

It is quickly picking up again, though.

Increasing budget slice for influencer marketing

In 2021 66% of brands are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets. Here is why:

Products review: More than 40% of consumers make their buying decisions after a detailed examination of the products. Influencer reviews work well while indirectly (let’s be honest – directly) promoting the brand.

Influencer marketing helps to facilitate the search for new products – this was the answer of 35% of respondents.

30% of the influencers’ audience watches their videos for the sake of promo codes.

22% of the audience think that bloggers are more competent in their field.

16% of influencers’ followers prefer their content to direct advertising. (Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Influencers agencies market development

The market of influencers agencies is blooming. Only in 2019, more than 380 new agencies and platforms for influencers popped up in the US. Let’s see whether the number will double by the end of 2020.

The raise of gamers and streamers

Working with famous athletes, movie and TV stars is in the past. A new type of influencers – gamers and streamers – is rapidly growing. If you have never considered reaching out your Gen Z audience via cybersport celebrities – now it’s time. Over the last couple of years they have attracted not only niche agencies and video game brands but also many large agencies, like Creative Artists Agency, WME, or United Talent Agency.

Moving to TikTok

Back in 2019, many companies stated that Instagram is their most important marketing channel. However, over 2020 has changed their mind. Instagram began to lose to TikTok.

In the US, TikTok has already bypassed Instagram on popularity among teenagers. With the same pace of growth, soon it will overtake Snapchat.

One of the main advantages of TikTok is a high user engagement rate. It may be up to 3.5 times higher than a similar-size Instagram promotion.

The format has become so popular that other applications have launched copies of TikTok. For example, WSJ sources claimed that after the launch of Reels, the TikTok clone, Instagram offered TikTok-influencers hundreds of thousands of dollars to transition to the new platform.

Influence Marketing for B2B

Many B2C influencer marketing processes will not work in the B2B market. It does not mean, though, that influencer marketing can not be used for B2B-campaigns. To take advantage of influencer campaigns in the B2B market, you have to be ready to follow slightly different processes:

Thematic communities instead of bloggers

It is not easy to find B2B influencers with a large audience. If you are on the B2B market, you should think bigger!

Professional communities and platforms can play the role of B2B influencers. Those typically have a large audience interested in a specific topic and a strong reputation.

Clients as opinion leaders

Who can advertise you better than your client? Your existing clients may have the strongest voice in the industry. Other potential partners will trust their experience and opinion better than direct advertising.

Longer processes

Like any other B2B marketing campaigns, the influencers’ campaign results will not be visible immediately. Businesses need more time to assess the effectiveness and profitability of your offer before committing.

Does the “sponsored post” tag influence the influencer marketing performance?

Transparency is getting more and more important in marketing. It aims to protect both sides – consumers and advertisers. Although it is not always playing in favor of brands.

For example, Instagram has already launched a “paid partnership” feature for advertising in the UK. Soon it will be available all over the world.

As an advantage, brands will have direct access to sponsored post statistics. As a downside – Instagram posts tagged as a “sponsored post” receive 9-17% fewer likes.

Therefore, in 2019, almost 28% of brands still asked bloggers not to mention that they were paid for advertising.

How to make people trust your influencer marketing

With the growing number of influencers’ campaign and their increased transparency, consumers easier recognize advertising. So how to make your influencers’ campaign look more like digital word-of-mouth? Here are two main tips:

Focus on product usability

Ask your influencers to focus on product use case descriptions rather than a simple description of the product itself. People do not believe in the sincerity of “bought” feedback. So make them believe in “use” feedback. Show how influencers’ daily routine has been changed with your product. For sure, your customers would want the same results.

Create hype around the product

The focus of large influencer campaigns should be not only on the quality and reliability of the product, but on the fact that the product is fashionable and interesting – thus bloggers will increase the recognition of your product and create hype around it.

Do not make them sell

Influencers can increase consumers’ trust in a product if they invite people to watch an expert interview or read reviews instead of directly trying to sell it. Once again, create digital word-of-mouth – this works the best.

Micro- and macro-influencers: how to choose the right campaign type

Micro- and macro-influencers have different audience size, user engagement, and return on advertising. In some industries, subscribers often trust micro-influencers more, considering them closer to “normal” people and their opinion more “honest”. Macro-influencers have an expert reputation and a large audience. Both types should be considered as different advertising tools.

Micro-influencers

Micro-influencers’ popularity varies: some experts define them as bloggers with 1000 subscribers, others – with 2500, 10000, or even 15000. Regardless of the number of subscribers, micro-influencers have several things in common:

  • High user engagement: the average level of engagement for bloggers with up to 5000 subscribers is 8.8%, with 5000 to 10 000 subscribers – 6.3%.
  • Closer community around: to maintain popularity, micro-influencers try to respond to their subscribers’ comments and encourage them to connect and support each other, thus creating a strong community around them.
  • Lower advertising costs: according to Influencer Marketing Hub, micro-influencers assign up to $500 for each publication.

Macro-influencers

Macro-influencers – bloggers with 100.000 or more subscribers. They go beyond their thematic niche and are gaining popularity among a wide range of users. Macro-influencers typically have:

  • Lower audience involvement: the user engagement of the macro-influencers blog readers on Instagram on average as low as 1.1%.
  • Less active contact with the audience: readers stop perceiving a large influencer as a living person and start to follow his life as a reality show.
  • Generic community: bloggers typically do not engage in conversations with their subscribers. Thus the community becomes less friendly.
  • High advertising prices: post prices range from several thousand to millions USD.

How to choose a promotion type

Now micro-influencers are more preferable option for an ad campaign:

  • Low price: the number of subscribers determines the cost of an advertising publication.
  • Ease of communication: micro-influencers are interested in expanding their advertising portfolio.
  • Optimal CPM: compared to digital advertising in social networks and campaigns of macro-influencers, small bloggers have the most favorable price per thousand clicks.
  • User engagement: the audience of micro-influencers most probably will discuss and share an ad publication, increasing the network effect and viewability rate of your ads.

There are several cases when it is better to choose a macro-influencer with a large audience. For example, if a brand needs:

  • High coverage: the macro-influencers audience is larger, which increases viewability rate.
  • Rapid sales growth: macro-influence campaigns are more likely to create hype and trigger impulsive purchases. Look at the performance of the Kardashians family.
  • Instant recognition and popularity push: opinion leaders with a large audience can introduce a product to potential customers, increasing its popularity.

Checklist for your influencer marketing campaign

  1. Select influencers type: macro- or micro-influencers. If you want to increase consumers’ trust in your brand go for influencers with a smaller audience. If your goal is to create a short term hype – macro-influencers are the better choice.
  2. Choose a platform – TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or even a niche platform. Think where are your potential customer hang out the most. Gen Z – go for TikTok, millennials – maybe Facebook and Instagram?
  3. Check your influencer’s account statistics. Even if you have already worked with this influencer, you should refresh your data before every campaign.
  4. Check recent news about your influencer. You do not want to risk your brand safety and work with influencers who have been accused of racism or harassment.
  5. Select the format of advertising. Sponsored post will work in most cases, but video reviews or other formats may perform better for some product categories.
  6. Prepare a formal contract to protect yourself from possible risks.
  7. Discuss the presentation style in advance. In influencer marketing, brands cannot always fully control the way influencers preset a product. Some bloggers might have their own style and expressions that is not appealing to your brand.
  8. Do not perceive influencers as a sales channel. Nowadays, blogging integrations mainly help to spark interest of your audience and increase brand or product recognition.
  9. Keep an eye on the influencers’ behavior during and after the campaign. Careless comments or actions can damage brand reputation.
  10. Check your landing page stability: you do not want to have your website down due to the inability to handle a large number of visitors.

Remember, influencer marketing should not be 100% of your marketing budget. The best strategy is to adopt omnichannel marketing, combining several channels such as mobile advertising, DOOH and social media.

Do you want to learn more or discuss how to make your campaign benefit from our 12 years of experience in driving results? Call us today.


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