Top 5 trends in influencer marketing that you cannot miss says Byte Dance's Poonam Nikam

With the pandemic and consequential lockdown, online content is being consumed like never before. There has been a tectonic shift in the Indian consumers’ choices as they spend more time on their mobile phones. Watching videos that weave storytelling while endorsing a product or service has become preferable to the traditional advertisements. 

This is all the more evident in the rise of the one affordable marketing content trend, that has taken the social media by storm recently -- influencer marketing. 

Unlike glamourous ads, influencers seem more relatable to the audience as these are ordinary individuals endorsing products and services. From PepsiCo. to Biba, many big brands have joined hands with chefs and designers to boost engagement. The share of influencer marketing shot up from 3 percent to 10 percent in 3 years from 2017-2020, showing a 300 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Here are the top 5 trends in influencer market that you need to watch out in 2021

  • Regional influencer market: There has been a spike in regional influencer markets, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India. Since most people use the mobile, there are enough local brands that now prefer to invest in regional influencers who might have a very wide reach in a certain region. The familiarity of vernacular language always helps to build a connection with the audience.
  • Diversification of influencers: When the first influencers emerged, they were mostly for fashion and entertainment industry. Now, like every social media content, this marketing strategy is becoming diversified. Insurance, banks and financial brands are also hiring influencers to make a greater impact, simplify processes and leverage their brands across the online platform.
  • Engagement rate over follower count: Several brands have been using influencer marketing for almost 2-3 years. Earlier, the follower count list was enough to determine which influencer will be chosen, but now the focus will be on engagement rate and historical data. Influencers need to show cost on each view of a video to convince brands on ROI before collaborations are finalised. Just creating interesting content will not be enough, marketers will see if there is a two-way conversation being started with the audience through the influencer content. This could be the beginning to performance-based pricing model.
  • Creators will become brands: Till now, content creators would collaborate with brands and platforms for reasonable deals, but in 2021, the creators will run their own stage. Influencers will build their own value-adding brand where they will be striking equity deals with other big brands. In 2021, this could be a big game-changer.
  • Branding of services: With the raging pandemic, many people could not step out and avail health services or therapy physically. While some consulted their chosen doctors and counsellors virtually, some found solace in online health influencers. They wove stories and simple anecdotes to make people realise that they weren’t alone while making mental health and other services more accessible. Many influencers helped boost these businesses by enhancing personal brand image of these professionals.

As the media head of Mondelez, Anjali Krishnan, said they are engaging more with the influencers like chef Pooja Dhingra and popular comedian Rohan Joshi because they are witnessing an audience shift and they want to have a finger on the audience’s pulse. With more trends evolving, one can also expect a big merger between influencers, content marketers and social media marketers, opening up channels of myriad content. By 2022, influencer marketing could very well become an industry worth $15 billion.

Poonam Nikam is global communications manager for ByteDance and drives the brand's communication across verticals.