Is influencer marketing dead?

This is one quintessential question that confronts influencers. There are many reasons why people think of influencer marketing this way. And Fyre Festival, which is considered the most prominent social media influencer marketing gaffe today, contributed to circumspection.

influencer /n/

A person who can influence potential buyers of a good or service through social media promotion or recommendation

While I don’t consider myself an influencer but rather a blogger, I know that influencer marketing is a workable marketing strategy that allows the brand to connect with its target market. So, no, influencer marketing is not really dead.

For me, the right question would be: Is influencer marketing reaching (or has already reached) its saturation point?

Influencer marketing statistics in 2021

If we look at the current social media influencer marketing data, we can easily determine that influencer marketing is yet to reach its maturity nor meet its death. The market is, in fact growing steadily. Let’s look at the numbers.

  • The influencer marketing industry is worth $13.8 billion in 2021 (up from $4.1 billion in 2020)
  • Google Trends searches with the keyword “influencer marketing” grows by 5,000% every month
  • In the US, about 68% of marketers working in companies with 100 or more employees are more likely to use influencer marketing
  • In 2020, there were 1,360 influencer marketing agencies with an average of 20 agencies entering the market every month

There is an ongoing demand for influencers, and these agencies are the middlemen that connect them with brands. Agencies like Intellifluence vets from their own pool of influencers and ensures that they generate the right levels of engagement.

Furthermore, social media influencer marketing is increasing as well. Instagram is the most popular platform with about one billion monthly active users. About 130 million of these users click on a shoppable post to learn more about the featured products.

shoppable post /n/

An unpaid social post that features purchasable tagged products

In 2020, about 90% of influencer campaigns included Instagram in their marketing mix. Additionally, almost 68% of marketers said Instagram is critical in their campaigns, whereas 43% think the same way about Facebook.

Expect to see more social influencers doing what they do best.

Social media influencer marketing trends in 2022

It’s safe to say that social media influencer marketing will be an essential strategy for brands and companies. These are the trends worth looking into.

1) Micro-influencers will be more important than mega influencers

Micro-influencers have less than 25,000 to 100,000 laser-targeted followers on their social media platforms. Other categories are regular and rising influencers with 15,000 to 50,000 and 50,000 to 100,000 followers, respectively.

These numbers allow them to focus on interactions and engagements, which explains why their engagement levels are the highest at 7%. Compared with mega influencers, they seem to bank on their names as having more influence than their interactions.

2) Influencers will be more specialized

Brands will favor influencers working on a particular niche. Such specialization extends to content creation. Content may be branded but still targets a niche that brings more value to the brands.

Let’s take the case of Diana Rose Rosqueta, an influencer from the Philippines, as an example. First, she started blogging about her experiences as a marathoner. Then, she expanded to a specific niche like general fitness.

As such, brands want to connect with their target audience as organically as possible despite using influencers.

3) Brands will be after ongoing relationships

That is, instead of one-off projects. In influencer marketing, the mindset should be long-term. After all, making a sale, which is the single most contribution to the influencer marketing campaign, takes time.

Also, influencer marketing becomes more of a brand ambassadorship. Thus, the goal is to make the influencer synonymous with the brand identity. This also takes time to accomplish.

A pivot

One more thing, asking whether something’s dead is common in digital marketing. Marketing tactics, particularly those that game the system or proved to be effective initially and then lost their effectiveness in the interim, are usually considered dead.

I should know. Working in a digital marketing agency in the Philippines, I’ve seen search engine optimization (SEO) declared dead far too many times before.

But guess what? SEO is still the most relevant digital marketing strategy in 2021, and it won’t die anytime soon—definitely not in 2022.

Social media influencer marketing is no different. For as long as there is a brand tapping the services of an influencer (or blogger), influencer marketing will continue to thrive. It’s here, still here, and here to stay.

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