Influencer marketing to revive post-COVID-19 lockdown: India Influence Report 2020
The influencer marketing industry is confident of rebounding once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted in a phased manner. According to the third edition of the India Influence Report conducted by Zefmo Media Private Limited, 72 percent of the respondents expressed their confidence in the revival of influencer marketing by leading brands of the country. In addition, the survey also revealed that average monthly influencer earning in 2019 crossed INR 5,000 (India Rupees five thousand) in India to become a viable profession for millions of people in the country. However, the outlook for 2020 remains cautious as over 95 percent influencers foresee a dip in earnings due to the COVID-19 impact on the overall industry. The survey insights are especially relevant in the current context as the industry will be grappling with viable options to regain the market once the lockdown is lifted. It also substantiates influencer marketing as a potential vocational avenue for millions of digitally connected and socially active Indians to make an earning while creating meaningful content.
As part of this annual survey, more than 1500 influencers participated in a nationwide survey to gauge the pulse of the influencer landscape in a world that is under the shadow of lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, 83 percent of the influencers have indicated that working from the confines of their homes will not be a constraint in creating new content and will not hinder their ability to improvise since they are not able to venture outdoors. At the same time, 92 percent of the respondents are either already innovating or plan to innovate their content creation strategy in wake of travel and public gathering restrictions across the globe. An overwhelming section of the influencers, about 77 percent have created organic COVID-19 related content in support of the nationwide fight and close to 80 percent of them plan to continue creating content to spread more awareness around the pandemic.
“In the third edition of the India Influence Report, we focussed on the influencer community, whereas the first two editions leaned towards the brands. The survey findings clearly tell us that well-thought-out, and co-created content by influencers can boost the quality of content for brands during uncertain times. With the lockdown in force and lack of other marketing channels, influencers are confident that the brands will lean on them to deliver contextual content to keep audiences engaged amid the COVID-19 crisis”, said Shudeep Majumdar, co-founder, and chief executive officer of Zefmo Media Private Limited. “While the influencer earnings in 2020 will be impacted, more number of millennials will find their calling in influencer marketing than anywhere else in the world. This is truly democratization of independent content creation which can be commercially remunerative as well.”
The influencers also indicated a number of challenges when it came to content creation. A majority of them, about 55 percent, find it tough to shoot and edit photos or videos in the absence of readily available professionals to do the same. Perhaps because of this, almost half of the respondents, about 49 percent are also reskilling themselves in audio and video editing among other skill-sets, thereby reducing their dependency on outsourced professionals. Erratic cellular data network and broadband speed is a major issue faced by 64 percent of the influencers; two out of three respondents citing internet connectivity as a major issue belongs to non-metro areas of the country. Above all, due to the lockdown, product reviews have completely stalled, but 47 percent of the influencers have indicated doing reviews of older products or doing more detailed feature reviews to sustain the connection with their followers. As brands will adjust their marketing spends to limit the outflow of cash, 73 percent of the influencers feel that brands will engage them on longer-term contracts rather than one-off paid posts, thus driving economies of scale in addition to the audience connect. In terms of technological adaptations, 58 percent of the influencers have either embarked or are currently evaluating live sessions and webinars on a periodic basis to engage with their audiences in real-time.
The survey was able to gauge a shift in trend towards the emergence of newer genres of content creation by influencers – 64 percent of the influencers are open to trying out a new genre to keep themselves relevant in the ‘social universe’. The top-ten content genres that are likely to emerge in the current scenario include, (1) health & wellbeing, (2) food & nutrition, (3) comedy & satire, (4) do-it-yourself (DIY), (5) music & dance, (6) training & education, (7) fashion & makeup, (8) career & personal finance, and (09) motivation and (10) mental health. These emerging genres are an indication of the adaptability quotient of the influencers as part of their efforts to sustain their content-flow while recalibrating their social persona.