Everyone has their 'hot-take' on where influencer marketing is heading next year. Instagram is removing the like-count, consumer attention is shifting, micro-influencers are on the rise and more tools are being built to find them. What should we really be paying attention to?
I spoke to a couple of experts in the business to get a picture of how brands are adapting their influencer marketing strategies in 2020. Here's what they told me:
Zoee from Substance Strategies 🇨🇦 Marketing agency
"We'll continue to look beyond simply the like-count and number of followers. We'll look at brand fit, audience, authenticity, quality of content, and past collaborations. We've always valued comments as well so not much change on our end, other than the fact that we may pay a little more attention to them going forward."
Andy from Comunicano 🇺🇸 Marketing agency
"In 2020 our approach will be more minimalist where we give influencers the freedom to be more creative by setting expectations that are more reliant on the creativity of the influencer and less focused on numbers."
Niyati from Influencer 🇮🇳 Influencer marketing platform
"Because of changes to Instagram like the removal of the like-count and micro-influencers having more engagement than the macro-influencers, we'll be looking at tools which could give us more influencer insights. We'll be using strict policies before adding influencers on our website database. This way we can control the genuine reach and awareness which the clients are looking for."
Hillary from Chicory 🇺🇸 Technology firm
"Partnerships have become key. The more we can present ourselves alongside partners as a united package, the fewer barriers to entry for influencers, who are being pitched constantly day after day."
Josh from Revive Kombucha 🇺🇸 Kombucha brand
"We’ll be looking for influencers to show more reasons ‘why’ - meaning they'll need to truly understand their following and be able to show us how they relate to our target consumers."
Pieter from The Salt 🇿🇦 Marketing agency
"We’ll do more integrated platform campaigns, e.g. using nano-influencers in conjunction with micro- and macro-influencers. We’ve done a few campaigns in this manner with exceptional results. I also think technology is now allowing influencers to participate in affiliated marketing campaigns, which is sharing the risk a bit better. Influencers could find this to work for some of them, especially if they do believe in the products themselves."
Patrick from Blavity 🇺🇸 Creator community
"One thing that we’ll adjust with our influencer marketing efforts in 2020 is testing AI platforms and testing content formats. I feel that content formats are a very overlooked variable in influencer campaigns."
David from MG Empower 🇬🇧 Marketing agency
"We’re looking to explore TikTok and the opportunities that channel allows for. It’s the future of social media and for Generation Z it’s where all the attention is focused."
Stephanie from HireInfluence 🇺🇸 Marketing agency
"We're focusing more on qualitative reporting and metrics. Great campaigns are more than just a "#ad", they are experiences that help to merge the needs of the brand, influencer authenticity, and audience wants to best 'influence' audience to action. We look for indicators by analyzing comments, actions, sentiment and brand lift to really dive into how our campaigns position the brand in the consumer's head."
Mina from Mina Imsi 🇦🇺 Marketing agency
"We will move towards long term collaborations and ambassadorships with influencers. Sourcing out key players in the game and working on long-term campaigns with them is providing much greater ROI as the content developed over time is far more engaging and genuine."
Analisa from Catch&Release 🇺🇸 Marketing agency
"In 2020 brands should broaden their definition of what they consider 'influencers' to encompass nano- or micro-influencers -- essentially, real people. While their individual followings may be small, their collective influence is significant. There are plenty of traditional influencers but they don’t make up the majority of people on social media. Cultivating trust and a close relationship with an audience is critical to influence purchasing decision – something micro-influencers do well, and something we'll see brands laser-focus on in 2020 and beyond."
Morgan from Market Boost 🇺🇸 Influencer marketplace
"Prior to 2018 it was easy to work with influencers on a 1:1 basis where it was all transactional. Since influencers are now being more selective about the deals they take, and there are a lot more opportunities being offered to them, we have switched all of our influencer collaboration processes to focus on building long term relationships where the influencer can create evolving narratives by themselves."
Rafaella from Kicksta 🇺🇸 Instagram marketing growth tool
"We'll be using influencer marketing tools more to find influencers for campaigns. That also keeps us up-to-date on the influencers in a niche."
Nathan from Your Charisma 🇳🇱 Marketing agency
"The goal is to make lasting connections with people that have an influence on a variety of platforms. The influencers that carry their influence from one platform to another are the golden ticket. Those are the individuals that will have a lasting influence on their audience. Influencers have become overplayed with everyone jumping in to secure their market share."
Marissa from Shop Priceless 🇺🇸 Online retailer
"We'll become more data-driven. A lot of our influencer collaborations are based on a creative edge or gut feeling. We plan to take more advantage of the tools out there that can really tell us what an influencer can deliver for our brand and all the details that go along with that. It's about finding the best possible partnerships and having a way to ensure a healthy influencer collaboration is a good investment in our eyes."
Dido from Trinny London 🇬🇧 Cosmetics brand
"I think brands will need to look closer at influencers as a whole rather than grouping them in genres and on engagement. What was once a numbers game will become more about who these influencers are as people, their ascetic, the way they present themselves, etc. I think its a really interesting and exciting time for influencers and the way they market themselves as well as how brands build relationships with them."
Julie from AllSides 🇺🇸 News website
"We might start to shift our Instagram influencer strategy in 2020 due to the changing landscape. If Instagram removes likes, we will likely start to look for influencers who have a decent number of followers and engagement in their comments."
Alannah from Trendship 🇺🇸 Influencer marketplace
"I'll be decreasing my budget substantially to no longer allocate funds for paying influencers. The influencers I've found through Trendship have significantly higher engagement rates and do not requirement pay-per-post fees. I don't intend on stopping paying influencers completely, but there's no further demand for initial, high-payment negotiations."