Top influencer marketing trends evolving in 2022
In the past year, influencer marketing matured, coming out of its infancy. Where once it was seen as a secondary route to consumers, it’s now a key channel at every marketing table. So, 2022 will finally be the year where brands undergo a mind shift writes Ankit Agarwal, Funder & CEO, Do Your Thng.
They will stop asking if they should collaborate with creators, and finally start working on how to make the most of influencer marketing. With that as the backdrop, here are the trends they need to know going into next year.
- Influence becomes voice, video, and regional
Voice, video, and regional content are three separate influencer marketing trends. However, they must be considered as one because they are interlinked, with regional content underpinning it all.
The majority of Indian internet users speak and read in an Indic language. This fact pushed most networking apps, from Instagram to LinkedIn to Clubhouse, to support multiple Indian languages. Furthermore, when these users consume content, they automatically gravitate towards creators who use the same language, which is why regional content creators from Tier 2 and 3 cities rose in popularity.
So, in 2022, expect to see influencer campaigns and the consequent branded content transition away from English to regional languages. That brings us to video.
Video is the preferred content, but more so for regional content consumers. The reason is they find speaking, listening and watching a more natural way to interact with technology rather than typing or reading.
Longer video content makes a comeback
Short videos have unconditionally bubbled up as an influencer trend recently. But, in the coming months, longer videos will make a comeback. The signs are already there, with Instagram introducing a separate tab for longer videos and Reels expanding the duration to one minute. And because it has more room for in-depth storytelling and entertainment, brands will begin to add it to their arsenal.
Voice influencers emerge as a strong contender
A content format that exploded post-pandemic is audio. Consumers flocked to Clubhouse rooms and podcasts. It gave more creators the impetus to experiment with the medium, reaching not only a broader audience but also a new one.
Expect to see high-velocity growth in this new niche of influencers - those who keep voice or audio first and often in a regional language. On the brand side, partnering with these voice influencers will become a notable trend.
- Social experiences become the new currency
We saw e-commerce transform into social commerce throughout 2021. It's a creator effect. One that pushed social media platforms to streamline shopping features. Looking forward to 2022, s-commerce will unfold into social experiences, again driven by creators.
Previously, brands could increase the intent to buy in consumers through static posts, swipe-ups, or tappable stickers on influencer content. With the market entering adolescence, brands will need more to drive sales. They'll need to build a social experience around their product.
The takeaway is that mere endorsements will not be enough. Co-created experiences will be the focus of campaigns, such as partnering with influencers for Livestream shopping. Think Walmart using Jason Derulo for their experiential shopping event on Twitter.
Augmented reality turns into a necessity
As the goal of influencer marketing shifts from simply tapping a creator’s community to taking them on a journey, augmented reality will become a central part of creator content. With AR filters, brands and creators will succeed in building entertaining and interactive social experiences like the Intel Evo Extension campaign with Reliance Digital and Shivesh Bhatia.
- Everything becomes data-driven
2021 was a watershed moment for influencer marketing. The industry stepped beyond aesthetical content-generating brand awareness towards goal-focused and performance-based campaigns. The emergence of tech platforms aided the change.
In 2022, every phase of an influencer campaign, from discovery to measurement, will be driven by data and ROI, a long-overdue reckoning. Brands will particularly partner with AI and algorithm-powered platforms to find creators. And to vet them in ways that go beyond the surface of vanity metrics to ensure brand safety. Tech platforms will also become necessary to strategize, activate, monitor, and measure campaign success through real-time insights because the days of guessing the impact of creator content are over.
- Honourable mention to the metaverse
Influencer marketing is not going to be a part of the metaverse in 2022, but it will be on its fringes. The metaverse, as Mark Zuckerberg phrased it, is an embodied Internet. It’s a place where users don’t just consume content but become a part of it, which directly ties into building a social experience.
Brands are already experimenting with it. Coca-Cola released its first-ever NFT collectables, a tremendous success within the crypto community. Gucci sold virtual handbags that consumers bought for their characters in the metaverse.
Metaverse will continue to make an impact on influencer marketing because it’s not predictable, giving it that ‘virality’ component. It’ll truly take off when brands begin to leverage creators who understand the space and produce content for it.
Currently, gaming influencers come the closest, but soon creators from other niches will notice the value-addition, such as food influencers cooking with each other in a digital world.
Influencers become the future of marketing
What used to be but one part among many marketing channels will soon become the key ingredient. Creators will no longer be the garnish. All because the way people consume content and who they place their trust in has changed. Brands that don’t bring influencer campaigns into the loop soon will feel the pinch, and it may happen quicker than most think.