As the online world continues to rapidly evolve, there is no question that we can expect to see big things from influencer marketing in the future.
A report produced by the Influencer Marketing Hub outlined that the Influencer Marketing Industry is set to grow to a staggering $16.4 billion by the end of this year. And, with a continual influx of new influencers every day, experts believe we will be exposed to an abundance of new ways to connect and work with influencers in the years to come.
So, what can we expect to see over the next year? Get your notes ready, because here are some of the top trends expected to take off in 2023.
Say goodbye to static posts
A notion that has already begun to be implemented throughout the influencer marketing world, is the shift away from static posts. During the next year or so we are expected to see this shift rapidly continue, with static text and posts becoming less common, and instead, marketers driving influencers to focus heavily on creating audio and video content.
This shift is expected to see marketers veer away from the traditionally sponsored Instagram post, and develop strategies around other influencer marketing platforms that rely solely on audio and video, such as TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, and podcasts.
2023 will continue to see the rise of short-form videos, with the ideal time ranging from 60 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on which platform you’re using. Research from the report shows that consumers positively react to this kind of content due to its fun and interactive nature, as well as the digestible design of shorter content. Shorter videos are also much easier to re-purpose for branded content, making them the ideal marketing strategy to target consumers and create re-usable content for campaigns.
When it comes to audio-based content, we will definitely see a push for podcasts to become implemented into most brand marketing strategies throughout the next year. Research showed that the global number of podcast listeners in 2022 reached a whopping 424 million, and it’s still growing, with the average Australian listening to slightly under 2 hours of podcast content every week. With those statistics it’s clear to see why podcasts have taken off in the last year, making podcast presenters an optimal choice for brands when looking for influencers to partner with.
Enter the world of Virtual Reality
It seems we are only just scraping the surface when it comes to using virtual reality and augmented reality in a marketing capacity. Studies have shown that the global AR market is projected to grow from $6.12 billion in 2021 to reach $97.76 billion by 2028, with some of the biggest brands in the world jumping on board.
The most common way we are set to see influencers working within the VR and AR realm over the course of the next year is through virtual shopping events and live-streaming sessions. By simply entering the world of virtual reality consumers will be able to walk and talk with their favourite influencers and experience life from their point of view. This will allow influencers to develop deeper connections with their communities and create content and environments in which consumers can completely immerse themselves.
VR and AR have already started to break into the marketing industry, with some of the biggest players in the game jumping in headfirst. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the likes of Ikea, Burberry, ASOS, and many others take an interest in this exciting new platform.
In 2019 Coca Cola dipped its toes in the AR realm once again, creating an AR marketing campaign using animated characters that emerge from Coca-Cola cans. The collaboration saw Coca-Cola partner with Ogilvy Mexico and VFX house Timber to create an immersive world where consumers were able to point their mobile devices at a can of coke and see 12 different AR stories come to life. Each story displayed animated characters who all solved minor conflicts by sharing a can of Coca-Cola.
This immersive world of AR and VR is opening the door to limitless opportunities for brands to create innovative and interactive marketing campaigns. Brands will have the chance to develop environments where any product can become a source of entertainment and marvel for consumers. It will also allow brands to connect consumers with influencers in a more intimate way than ever before.
Consumers will want to keep it real
It’s no surprise that as the world of influencer marketing continues to evolve, so too are consumers starting to share their opinions on the content they are being served. With that in mind, the key factor brands will need to consider moving into the next year is authenticity. Keeping your content relatable and genuine is a trend that will continue for years to come.
It’s become apparent that consumers have developed a distaste for content that feels forced and invasive, which means influencers will also have to ensure they are only promoting brands that align with them and the community of followers they have built.
As the push for marketers and content creators to establish more genuine and authentic content becomes more prevalent, we are also seeing the emergence of new platforms that encourage users to create and view content that is original and organic.
Two platforms that have really made a stand against edited and ‘fake’ content are BeReal and Poparazzi. Poparazzi is a social media platform that asks consumers to create a paparazzi-style shoot of their friends. The platform prompts users to take photos of other people and doesn’t allow the use of the front-on camera or the use of any filters, captions, or even access to see follower counts. The idea is solely to pump up your friends, instead of creating modified images of yourself.
Similarly, BeReal is another app that prompts its users to essentially, be real. The app works by prompting its users to take one unedited photo at a random time every day. Users have two minutes to take a photo of what they are really doing at that moment and upload it before it’s considered too late.
Both apps pride themselves on creating platforms that are purely designed for consumers to be themselves, in an unedited, authentic way. And this movement is definitely starting to see traction all over the globe, with BeReal having a staggering 21.6 million monthly users and 2.93 mullion daily visits.
The rise of the Nano and Micro-influencer
Another trend that already has its wheels in motion is the rise of micro and nano-influencers. Although, at first glance, they may seem like an odd choice due to their smaller following, don't be fooled, these types of influencers make up for that with much higher engagement rates and offer a variety of loyal followers who have a genuine interest in what they have to say.
A report by HyperAuditor showed that nano-influencers have a 5% engagement rate, which is the highest engagement rate of any type of influencer and explains why marketers are starting to catch on to the trend.
In addition to exposing your brand to a much higher engaged audience, nano influencers are also much more cost-effective. Most nano-influencers charge anywhere from $50 to $100 for a post, in comparison to the thousands macro and mega influencers are often known to charge. So, you won’t be breaking the bank when it comes to creating your campaign.
With the push for more authentic content, numerous top-tier brands, such as Mac Cosmetics, Dove, Mcdonalds', and many others have jumped on board the nano-influencer train for their marketing campaigns. Each of them seeing an increase in brand awareness and the development of a more engaged and loyal community of followers.
Long-term partnerships will become more popular
Going hand in hand with creating an authentic partnership with an influencer, one-off partnerships are set to decline. Put simply, introducing your brand to a new set of eyes and building a relationship with them is not going to be done overnight, it takes time for the influencer to create a genuine relationship with your products and for their audience to also develop that bond.
Creating campaigns and bringing influencers on for long-term partnerships or even ambassadorships will allow you to build brand awareness and integrate your products with a new audience in an organic way. It also allows you to take advantage of the influencer's community with prolonged exposure, keeping your brand top of mind.
Influencer marketing platforms will continue to evolve
As technology continues to evolve, we will start to see new social media platforms pop up along the way. In addition to this, we will also start to see changes to the type of content creators will be able to make.
It’s likely that a lot of the new platforms to hit the market in the next few years will stick with the trend of highlighting audio and visual content. We may also start to see the emergence of new experimental forms of media such as the use of AI and CGI influencers.
Marketers all over the globe have already started to tap into the world of AI influencers, with well-known brands like Dior, Calvin Klein, and Prada working with virtual robot model, Miquela Sousa. Miquela Sousa or as she is more commonly known, Lil Miquela, is a virtual robot model as well as a virtual musician, who has performed at well-known festivals around the world.
The Brazilian-American robot model was created by Brud, a start-up based in Los Angeles, and she boasts a staggering 3 million followers on Instagram and another 3.6 million on TikTok. Miquela is just one of the AI influencers that have begun to hit the market and have paved the way for a new generation of influencer marketing. With new AI creators continuously hitting the market brands will be exposed to a new wave of marketing opportunities, with everything from live performances, virtual meet and greets, modeling photo shoots, tv commercials, online product reviews, and unboxing videos.
Influencers will grow their niche
Every influencer is unique, each with their own style and quirks, but now influencers are being advised to find a niche within their niche and stick to it. Tied in with the idea of authentic content, consumers want to trust that the influencers they follow and listen to are experts in their field.
Whether it be fashion, food, or politics, consumers follow influencers for a reason, and ensuring you’re an expert in your niche allows you to form genuine connections with your audience.
Along with creating an authentic relationship between the influencer and their community, this will also become a crucial factor in helping influencers stand out from the crowd. With a constant influx of new influencers every day, finding a niche within your niche will really help influencers create a targeted community of engaged followers and put them ahead of the curve.
When creating a specific niche, it can be hard to narrow down the choices. The best place to start is to think about areas you can branch off into from a broader topic. For example, in the last year, there has been a rise in the number of foodie influencers focusing on vegan food, or vegan deserts, instead of having an Instagram based around food in general.
There are a variety of larger topics you can branch off into, with travel, beauty, fashion, and health and fitness ranking as the top 4 most profitable Instagram niches for 2022. So, whatever your passion is, try thinking of ways you can narrow it down and find a more defined niche that sets you apart from the pack.
Although it may seem like a lot to wrap your head around what influencer marketing will look like in the future, many of these changes have already started to take effect. As our fast-paced society continues to evolve, we will constantly have to adapt our marketing efforts to keep up with the latest trends. Despite the fact it might take a little more work for brands to learn the newest platforms and different marketing strategies that arise, the possibilities that will become available to brands are set to change the face of marketing forever.