There’s no doubt that influencer marketing is one of the most revolutionary and fast-moving disciplines in recent years and 2019 certainly proved this to be so. It was a tricky start with the release of a high-profile documentary focusing on Fyre Festival, whose organisers had used influencer marketing to dupe consumers. This didn’t exactly get the year off to a great start.
With the spectre of Fyre Festival and celebrity warnings from the ASA hanging over the industry — there has never been more scrutiny on the legitimacy of influencers. But, as the industry evolves and matures, there remains plenty of reasons to be positive about the future of influencer marketing in 2020 and beyond. What do we see as some of the shifting trends this year? Read more for our thoughts….
One of the key factors we saw shifting in 2019 was ‘vanity metrics’. In early iterations, social media platforms had these built-in, which lead marketers to be able to measure success by follower count or amount of likes on a post. However, as social media moves towards curating more meaningful conversations in 2020, vanity metrics may soon be phased out. We have already seen Instagram expanding its month-long test to hide like counts to the rest of the world, rolling out a core change to the way users engage with the photo-sharing service and this trend can now be expected to extend to other platforms like Facebook and TikTok.
If trials like these become more permanent, 2020 will see marketers having to explore the metrics that demonstrate deeper engagement and prioritise creativity, forcing marketers to make sure their content is as creative and shareable as possible, which is only a good thing!
Along with the digital development within influencer marketing, a trend we see continuing to grow is ‘exclusive’ collaborations with brands and influencers as they seek longer-term partnerships. However, for this to work brands will have to relinquish some of the creative control and trust influencers to act as their own creative directors. Whilst this may sound risky for brands, consumers are savvier than ever, so long-term relationships with brands that allow influencers to fully explore their creativity will be well received by followers and reinforce the authenticity of the collaboration.
Beyond digital — usage rights and licensing
Hand in hand with longer-term partnerships, 2020 will also see an increase in influencers licensing their Instagram content for use across a brand’s above the line activity. As influencers venture into multi-channel offerings, we’ll witness influencers playing a key role in more holistic, integrated campaigns across a variety of mediums.
With this in mind, influencer content should want consumers to share, engage, inspire and entertain. We are increasingly seeing influencers using more professional equipment to ensure higher-spec quality content that can easily translate into other formats, such as billboard or video commercials. For example, we supported a campaign last year where the influencer used footage from drones to promote the launch of Mercedes-Benz Vans X‑Class — the content was outstanding! This investment in better quality tech opens the door for monetising content beyond social media and allows brands and influencers to grow their partnership more easily by using a consistent spokesperson across channels.
Looking at the year ahead, brands and influencers will need to stop operating as two separate entities and start working more collaboratively. There needs to be more trust between the two parties, which will allow influencers to churn out more creative, authentic and unique content. If this happens then we can mark 2019 down as a tricky year and look to 2020 as the year it all changes.”,