It’s no surprise influencer marketing campaigns are incredibly lucrative. On average, you can earn $5.78 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing — and this number can increase up to $18 if you know how to do influencer marketing correctly.
Then it’s no wonder why 77% of marketers surveyed for the latest State of Influencer Marketing report have dedicated influencer marketing budgets.
But here’s the problem ...
The influencer marketing industry keeps evolving at a rapid pace. It’s crucial to understand (and leverage) the latest influencer marketing trends to get the maximum return on investment from your influencer marketing strategy.
We have no crystal ball, but we have helped ecommerce brands scale from $0 to $7M in one year with influencer marketing.
In this article, we’ll cover the top influencer marketing trends you should watch out for in 2022.
10 Influencer Marketing Trends: What You Should Keep On Your Radar in 2022
It doesn’t matter whether you run your influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, or podcasts — new trends are emerging for every platform every year.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 influencer marketing trends that should “influence” (see what we did there?) your influencer marketing strategy in 2022:
- Micro-influencers and nano-influencers will have a greater impact
- TikTok will boom for short-form content (and YouTube for long-form content)
- Brands will seek out more podcast partnerships with influencers
- Building a community will reign superiority over transactional influencer marketing
- Social media video content will dominate
- Brands will scale influencer marketing via product seeding and whitelisting
- Influencer marketing will become more data-driven
- Influencers will become crucial affiliate marketers
- One-off partnerships and inauthentic content will die a hard death
- Vanity metrics will disappear (or will at least take a backseat)
#1: Micro-Influencers & Nano-Influencers Will Have a Greater Impact
Micro-influencers with 10-100K followers and nano-influencers with 1-10K followers will become the new brand favorite.
Why would an influencer with a lower following be more in demand? Because of engagement rates. Nano-influencers have the highest engagement rates at four percent, followed by micro-influencers at two percent.
There are three reasons why smaller influencers get higher engagement rates:
- They have a closer, more intimate relationship with their audience thanks to more 1:1 communication.
- Nano-influencers and micro-influencers are selective in their brand partnerships because they’re wary of losing their small community’s trust — making their content high-quality and authentic.
- Most nano and micro-influencers have a small but targeted community — making their followers much more engaged. They can help brands that want to boost brand awareness and looking to tap into hyper-niche communities.
The bonus: Micro-influencers and nano influencers are also cost-effective as their influencer rates are lower than macro-influencers. They’ll allow brands to stretch their influencer marketing budgets while still working alongside influencers who are deeply connected with their community.
#2: TikTok Will Boom for Short-Form Content (And YouTube for Long-Form Content)
It’s no surprise TikTok leads influencer marketing. Since the onset of the pandemic, TikTok has seen a whopping 180% boost among 15-25 year-old-users.
There’s no doubt that TikTok’s popularity will keep on surging in 2022. TikTok users spend more than 850 minutes monthly on the app.
TikTok has become the go-to for influencers who want to produce more short video content by launching its creator marketplace.
Read More: How to Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand Using TikTok Creator Marketplace
And if you want to publish long-form content? YouTube is where it’s at. According to the 2021 Year In Review of YouTube, the top ten spenders reached over 14.3 billion users in 2021, amassing a total of one billion views.
Influencer content — whether in-depth product reviews or demo walkthroughs — can live on this social media platform for a long time.
#3: Brands Will Seek Out More Podcast Partnerships With Influencers
Over the next year, brands will make partnerships with podcast influencers a priority. Why? Tuning into audio conversations have exploded since the pandemic.
The global podcasting market size was valued at $11.46 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at the compound annual growth rate of 31.1%.
More and more people started consuming audio content during the lockdowns — resulting in more influencers and content creators using it to reach their audience.
For example, Dr. Alex — an Instagram influencer in the health niche — has his podcast, The Waiting Room With Dr Alex, with an impressive 4.9/5 rating.
Given these facts, it’s only reasonable podcast ad spend has grown to $800 million in 2020.
However, this doesn’t mean the standard social media posts with photos and text are dead. Instagram remains one of the most popular social media platforms for influencer marketing.
But we can expect to see a greater emphasis on audio content in 2022.
#4: Building a Community Will Reign Superiority Over Transactional Influencer Marketing
Most brands used to (and still do) approach influencer marketing wrong — emphasizing on one-off sponsored posts and the pay-per-post model. But that’s starting to change.
Brands are realizing when you form genuine relationships with influencers, you build a community of authentic product adopters rather than social media influencers paid to speak praises of your product.
How can your brand allow influencer relationships to take the forefront in your influencer marketing efforts?
- Make your cold outreach personal
- Send a great unboxing experience to win over social media influencers
- Practice product seeding to start off the relationship on giving, not asking
- Pay your influencers fairly
Start by thinking how you can provide value to the influencer to nurture a long-term relationship, rather than looking at the opportunity as a one-off business transaction.
#5: Social Media Video Content Will Dominate
Video is the most popular content format right now, and it’s only going to surge from here. Over 82% of internet traffic is online videos. Not just this: 53% of people say they want to see more video content from brands.
There are many reasons for the growing popularity of videos:
- Videos are easy to view and quicker to absorb information
- Videos are mobile-friendly and hold the attention of the viewer
- Videos give room for storytelling (aka enticing emotion)
But it’s snackable short videos — the vertical video formats of Instagram reels and TikTok videos — that are killing it.
As brands start to boost their presence across social media, the successful ones will prioritize short videos.
#6: Brands Will Scale Influencer Marketing via Product Seeding and Whitelisting
Partnering with many influencers right and left isn’t the only way to scale influencer partnerships. There are better ways to optimize your current influencer marketing campaigns to get better results.
In particular, these two trends can scale your influencer marketing efforts:
- Product Seeding: Giving away your product to relevant social media influencers for free and under no obligation — no endorsements, no posting, no payments, nothing. The result? Free high-quality social media content, starting off influencer relationships the right way, and finding genuine lovers of your brand and products. It’s how the chocolate brand, M&M’s, grew their DTC sales by an astonishing 457%.
- Influencer Whitelisting: Influencer whitelisting is when you access an influencer’s social media account and run ads from it. How does this help? With the decline of the effectiveness of organic influencer content, influencer sponsored ads have become the next big thing to reach more and more people. Influencer whitelisting gives your brand more control over the distribution of paid media.
The bonus? These two methods also help you build an influencer community we had mentioned earlier.
#7: Influencer Marketing Will Become More Data-Driven
Influencer marketing budgets are rising. 71% of marketers increased their budget for influencer marketing in 2021 — and the trend is only going uphill.
Then it’s only natural as the budget expands, so does the importance of quantifiable influencer marketing ROI.
Data-driven influencer marketing will rise as brands and influencers get comfortable working together and know what to expect. More social media metrics tracking will come into play, and many influencer marketing platforms might aid the process.
#8: Influencers Will Become Crucial Affiliate Marketers
With the combined success of social commerce and the right partnerships, we’ll see more retailers getting influencers on board as affiliate marketers.
- With the TikTok creator marketplace and Instagram shoppable posts, influencers play a crucial role in providing a seamless shopping journey. Sharing affiliate codes will only help brands and influencers make the process easier.
- As the need for data increases, brands will hand out more referral links and coupon codes to influencers — making them a part of their affiliate program.
- Influencers give personalized demos, product walkthroughs, and authentic testimonials — making them the ideal choice for an affiliate marketer.
Not to mention, affiliate marketing incentivizes the social media influencer to drive more sales for your brand by giving them a cut when anyone purchases from their code or custom link.
#9: One-off Partnerships and Inauthentic Content Will Die a Hard Death
Today, consumers increasingly expect social media authenticity. 64% of users say they want brands to connect with their consumers.
Be it live streams, live video, or instagram stories — the pandemic pushed the need for authentic content further, as more people turned to social media for connection during the worst periods of lockdown.
Consumers can also easily identify sponsored content today and feel betrayed if an influencer gets too sales-y. Authentic influencer marketing is here, and it’s here to stay.
And as brands start matching with the right social media influencers — whether through influencer marketing agencies or influencer marketing platforms — they’ll naturally begin seeking out long-term collaboration over one-off posts.
Think about it: If an influencer’s target audience overlaps with yours, they match your values, and genuinely love your product, why wouldn’t you want a long-term partnership on an ongoing basis?
#10: Vanity Metrics Will Disappear (Or Will at Least Take a Backseat)
The follower count will gradually vanish as fake followers rise, and that’s a good thing. Why? Because it will put the focus on creating authentic content and evaluating whether or not an influencer has formed a strong relationship with their audience.
Marketers have realized paying big bucks to a mega-influencer may not always work out. As we saw, micro and nano influencers have a higher engagement rate and a deeper connection with their audience.
Not to mention, you also need qualitative ROI from influencer marketing campaigns — it’s the difference between 100K irrelevant website visitors vs. 50K website visitors who are your target customers.
Brands will stop looking at follower count and the number of likes altogether and start asking better questions:
- Does the influencer align with your brand values?
- Does the influencer “get” your brand voice?
- Can the influencer produce authentic content?
- What is the average engagement rate the influencer receives on their post?
- Have the past partnerships of an influencer boosted lead generation or driven sales?
The result? Brands and influencers will be better suited for each other, and benefit from more authentic long-term relationships.
Influencer Marketing Is Ever-Evolving So You Better Keep Up
There you have it! Our hot take on the new influencer marketing trends to watch out for in the upcoming year. While this list isn’t exclusively covering every change influencer marketing will undertake, it ticks the main trends we are seeing everyday (and changes that are likely here to stay).
But your brand doesn’t necessarily have to go through the painstaking process of continually updating your influencer marketing strategy. Book a call with us to see how we can help.