Not only did influencer marketing prosper throughout the pandemic, reaching audiences when traditional advertising couldn’t, but it did so in a meaningful way. Half of 25-34 year olds said they felt more of a personal and emotional connection with creator content than with branded content- sentiments which many brands struggled to achieve but consumers so strongly desired.
Notably, brand-creator partnerships are struggling to demonstrate adequate representation when it comes to content, with just 28% of consumers across the UK and US believing that brands’ influencer marketing content adequately reflects diversity in society. In contrast, almost two thirds of marketers (62%) feel that content adequately represents diversity. Fortunately, alongside the demand for authentic content, marketers are recognising the ongoing need for greater diversity too: 67% said they are making more effort to use influencers from diverse backgrounds in their campaigns than they did before the pandemic.
These efforts may be contributing to more selective recruitment processes, with ¾ (72.37%) of marketers agreeing that they are more selective with the influencers they use in campaigns, compared with pre-pandemic. In fact, selecting the right influencers for campaigns remains the most important aspect when working with influencers, according to more than half of the marketers surveyed, while 48% feel that building strong, long-term relationships with influencers is their top priority– up 6% from last year. Less weight is being placed on delivering returns and driving sales, as only 39% of marketers said that demonstrating ROI was the most important aspect of their influencer partnerships, down from 43% in 2020.
As the chart below shows, financial return also holds less importance for influencers, while shared values is of high priority when it comes to brand partnerships.
The strong foundations sought by both influencers and brands with regard to partnerships signifies a maturing industry that places less emphasis on vanity metrics, in the pursuit of more authentic, impactful content which resonates with consumers on a deep and lasting level.