by Kirsty Bisset. Product placement. Sponsorship. Affiliates. Brand partners. The realm of influencer marketing – and its goals of making your brand more personable, as well as raising awareness and expanding reach – has been through multiple iterations and continues to evolve as brands become more cognisant of their effect on consumer behaviour.
According to a survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, 68% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing spend in the short-term; while 90% of respondents said that influencer marketing had been an effective form of marketing. And, as a brand tool, it isn’t going anywhere with the estimated value of the influencer marketing industry being valued at $13.8-billion in 2021 and looking to climb to $16.4-billion by the end of 2022. With the second half of the year approaching, retailers need to move quickly within an industry that moves even quicker.
Here are five of the latest influencer retailer trends that you can incorporate into your communications strategy over the next few months.
1. The creator’s content-first campaigns
It’s time for retailers to hand over the reins to their influencer partners when it comes to content creation. By using creators’ content, retailers are seeing double-digit engagement increases in offer and awareness messaging. This is driving a significant increase in demand for creator content, both for use in brand advertising, but also in boosting creators’ placements wherever they appear, sometimes doubling or tripling their reach. By sharing content such as unboxing videos, shopping hauls, or how-to guides, influencers can offer product information, which helps brands target customers when they’re considering what brand to go with or which product to select.
2. Gen Z partnerships
Partnering with influencers who appeal to Gen Z is a top focus for brands as they realise how heavily this group depends on influencers for their purchase decisions. The 2021 LTK Gen Z studyfound that 92% of Gen Z shoppers rely on influencers to inform purchasing behaviour. Not only this, but Gen Z is influencing populations in general. What they buy and wear or showcase becomes what others want to buy, wear and own.
3. Don’t hold back on video
As of last year, people were watching an average of 100 minutesof online video a day and this shows no signs of slowing down. Because 55% of consumers are using videoto guide their purchasing decisions, a well-timed video could close the sales loop for a current or potential consumer.
4. TikTok influencers drive shopping trends
Social media has been playing a key role in the online shopping journey for many years. Indeed, research from TINT highlights that 85% of consumers use social media to research companies. Creators on TokTok tend to have a very high engagement rate, coupled with content that entertains and informs without making viewers feel like they are being directly marketed to. This brings a feeling of authenticity to the efforts, which in turn, builds affinity to a brand. Some brands have seen a 700% spike in sales in a single week thanks to TikTok. That’s the magic behind the #tiktokmademebuyit hashtag which highlights the effect of TikTok creator content on influencing shopping decisions.
5. Data, data, data
The inability to identify influencers and proceed to track the results they generate accurately has been a longstanding gripe with influencer marketing. In fact, 62% of iPhone users chose to opt-out of app usage tracking following Apple’s iOS 14.5 update. The answer? First-party data. First-party data helps brands identify new potential partnerships by analysing the consumer data they already own to identify customers that a brand is looking to target for loyalty schemes, brand ambassador campaigns, affiliate programs, and influencer marketing partnerships.
This provides retailers with the ability to look at buying behaviour, demographics, and reach, so that they, or the brands they stock, can select influencer partners using the most valuable identifier – their own customer database. In turn, the right lifestyle influencers can help brands regularly reach niche audiences, improve brand perception, build brand identity, and set themselves brand apart in the marketplace.
Through all of these trends, putting authenticity at the centre of your influencer marketing strategy when selecting influencer partners; and the content shared, is key. Creators have proven themselves to be valuable partners not only to brands, but also to social media platforms which are now taking the lead in funding and training the next generation of influencers.
Main image credit: Pixabay.com.
Kirsty Bisset is Managing Director of HaveYouHeard Durban.
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