Social influencers are expected to be more prominent in ad campaigns in 2021 as marketers keep an eye on younger consumers who spend more time online. This engagement will help support several key trends this year, including the evolution of social media developers into long-term brand ambassadors and the growing role of customers acting as influencers.
Among other things, Generation Z consumers will have a greater impact on influencer-generated content as their purchasing power continues to grow, and marketers will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their influencer campaigns with improved metrics, like from a new forecast from the influencer -Marketings comes from the company CreatorIQ
“As the industry evolves, we are moving away from ‘Influencer Marketing 1.0,’ a transactional relationship between brands and the developers they have worked with on one-off campaigns,” said Tim Sovay, chief operating officer of CreatorIQ. Among his funders is the CPG -Giant Unilever.
His company, which has a database of 20 million developers, sees greater demand from marketers for longer-term partnerships with influencers who can be effective brand advocates. At the same time, the creators want to align themselves with brands whose social values correspond to their own.
“A creator really chooses the types of brands they want to work with, identify with, and be interested in their audience,” Sovay said. “On the brand side, they’re looking for a more authentic relationship, and strangely enough, it’s almost like traditional endorsement.”
These longer term contracts with developers can last for a year and are renewable. They can also include services such as product launch advice or design ideas.
“‘Influencer’ means so many different things now – and one of them is really understanding what your high quality customer is.”
CreatorIQ’s Chief Operating Officer
Yeti Holding, maker of luxury coolers and ice boxes, is an example of a brand that has cultivated an enthusiastic following by working with influencers whose creative endeavors include everything from product reviews to short films showing outdoor adventures.
TikTok controls the demand for authenticity
Younger consumers are harder to reach through media channels like traditional linear television, making digital endeavors, including influencer marketing, more important for brands targeting younger audiences. Generation Z demands the authenticity of brands even more than the previous millennial generation, a characteristic that is reinforced by the popular social video app TikTok.
Because TikTok focuses on identifying videos that are most likely to go viral, everyday people can become famous on the platform overnight. According to CreatorIQ, authentic short-form content became even more popular at Gen Zers as social media consumption spiked in the first year of the pandemic. The company recommends brands partnering with Gen Z influencers to learn more about the audience they are trying to reach.
“”[The Gen Z] The audience originally comes from the social platforms. It’s all they know Hence, the creators they follow are by far the most influential, “Sovay said.
Many young consumers aspire to become social influencers as a career, a sign of their understanding of how fame works on social media. 86 percent of Gen Z and Millennials said they would publish sponsored content for money, and 54 percent would make an impact if given the opportunity, research firm Morning Consult found in a survey.
“Traditional notions of celebrities – like actors – don’t have as much influence as they used to,” said Sovay. “The developers are really at home on social media platforms, along with new emerging digital native brands built on the back of Instagram and other platforms.”
Improved measurement and scaling
Like many facets of marketing, the influencer sphere is becoming more and more data-driven, providing brands with additional metrics for assessing ROI and other business results. Content-linked ecommerce sales are emerging as an important metric as platforms popular with influencers like YouTube and Facebook provide native tools for marketers to use to measure social influencer efforts and help with online ordering and payment.
“Now it’s not just about high-level impressions and engagements – we can drill down into the bottom funnel measurement to understand conversions,” said Sovay. “Shopping and social commerce will explode in the US in the next 12 to 24 months.”
“Brands have these huge databases of first-party email and data. In addition to working with a range of developers, a brand can empower their most active and influential customers.”
CreatorIQ’s Chief Operating Officer
According to the report by CreatorIQ, brands should also support their influencer efforts with paid media in order to expand the reach beyond the organic level that the developers have cultivated on social platforms.
“You can get the scaling and targeting through paid media that you can’t get through other channels like programmatic ad,” said Sovay. “That way, you can really reach a much wider audience beyond organic reach through influencer marketing.”
By scaling in paid media, marketers can target similar audiences who may not directly follow the creator but have similar psychographic and demographic profiles.
“With more scalability, you have the opportunity to get more conversion and more attribution,” said Sovay. “You can sell more products, you can get more downloads, you can get more people to take an action that is beyond the audience of the creator you’re working with or the creator.”
Customers as influencers
CreatorIQ also envisions greater convergence between loyal customers of a product and influencers. Babe Wine, the canned wine marketed by AB InBev, added customers who could act as effective social influencers to its brand ambassador program.
“‘Influencer’ means so many different things now – and one of them is really understanding what your high quality customer is,” said Sovay. “Brands have these huge databases of first-party email and data. In addition to working with a range of developers, a brand can empower their most active and influential customers.”
The convergence of influencer marketing and customer experience (CX) can also be scaled up to increase reach and drive long-term loyalty.
“You scale this by working with hundreds, if not thousands, of your customers and giving them incentives to be your partner,” said Sovay. “It will take brand marketers some time to get there, but I can tell you that when we talk to our top clients about it, they will be amazed. They see this as the next big leap for this category.”