It's no secret that influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of many brands' marketing strategies.
The space of influencer marketing is in a state of constant flux. New technologies, new marketing trends, new techniques, and a lot more. As we move into the new year, it's time to start thinking about the trends that will shape influencer marketing in 2023. And there are definitely some exciting changes on the horizon. Here are the trends that could be shaping the influencer marketing space in the years to come.
1. Spotlight will be on influencer-generated content (IGC)
As influencers become more and more popular, the focus is shifting from traditional advertising to influencer-generated content (IGC).
User-generated content is content that is created by everyday people, whereas Influencer generated content is content that is created by influencers. User-generated content tends to be more authentic, as it is coming from real people, whereas Influencer generated content can sometimes be seen as more polished or staged. Nevertheless, advertisers are starting to see the value in IGC, as it is more relatable and trustworthy than traditional advertising.
For 2023, we think that the spotlight will be on IGC, as more and more brands start to see the value in partnering with influencers to create content that will resonate with their audience.
2. Focus on mobile-format video content
With the rise of social media, mobile-format video content has become increasingly popular. And it's not hard to see why.
Mobile-format video content is shot in portrait mode so that it fills the screen, like a TikTok or Instagram Reel.
Mobile-format video content is easy to consume, it's shareable, and it's often entertaining. What's not to love? In 2023, mobile-format video content is going to become even more popular. As brands start to see the value in creating short, snackable content that can be consumed on the go.
Indeed, mobile-format video content is the new thumb-stopping.
3. Niche-focus influencers gaining momentum
As the influencer marketing space becomes more crowded, we're starting to see a trend towards niche-focus influencers.
Niche-focus influencers are influencers who have a specific focus or niche. This could be anything from fashion to travel to food. While brands almost always sought out influencers who speak about their category, niche influencers are even more granularly focused on a particular topic. They are not just “mommy bloggers” or “lifestyle influencers” who document their lives.
Niche-focus influencers tend to have a more engaged audience, as they are speaking to a specific demographic. Essentially, brands are starting to see the value in partnering with influencers who have a specific focus, as they are more likely to reach their target audience.
Influencers who are focusing very widely may need to play catch-up and start to focus on their niche in order to stay ahead of the curve.
4. Follower count doesn’t matter anymore
In the early days of influencer marketing, follower count was everything. The more followers an influencer had, the better. But, as the influencer marketing space has evolved, we're starting to see a shift away from focusing on follower count.
Brands are now more interested in quality over quantity. They want to partner with influencers who have an engaged and active following, rather than just a large following — that trend is going to continue. The follower count is no longer king. A million followers is not so much of a big deal anymore.
In fact, smaller influencers are found to have 60% higher engagement rates than larger influencers. Their followers feel appreciated, involved, and part of a community and the smaller influencer is typically more relatable.
This just means that brands need to move away from vanity metrics and focus on more meaningful metrics that actually show the ROI of their influencer marketing campaigns.
5. Emphasis on better content experience (CX)
In today's competitive marketplace, customers are more likely to engage with a brand if its content is compelling and appealing. Creating content that is informative, entertaining, and visually appealing will be critical for brands looking to succeed in 2023 and beyond.
To meet the demands of customers for better content, brands will need to invest in quality content creation and curation. They will also need to have a clear understanding of the customer journey and what content will resonate at each stage. Additionally, brands will need to be prepared to invest in new technologies and platforms to reach their target audiences.
By investing in a better content experience, brands can stay ahead of the competition and build strong relationships with their customers.
This means that influencers need to think about things like design, navigation, and overall user experience. Brands are starting to see the value in partnering with influencers who can not only create great content but also deliver a great user experience.
6. An increase in short-form content
We're also seeing a trend towards shorter, more snackable content. As people's attention spans continue to decrease, brands are starting to create shorter content that can be consumed on the go.
The average user attention span in 2022 is just 8 seconds. Human attention span has been declining slowly, from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in recent years. What more in 2023?
This means that brands need to start thinking about how they can create content that is easy to consume and can be consumed in short bursts. The rise of platforms like TikTok has only served to accelerate this trend.
This doesn't mean that long-form content is dead. There is still a place for long-form content, but we're seeing a trend towards shorter content that can be consumed quickly. Regardless of length, good content has a quick hook.
7. The Rise of branded audio content
Audio content is also on the rise. With the popularity of podcasts and smart speakers, we're seeing a trend towards branded audio content.
Brands are starting to see the value in creating audio content that can be consumed on the go. Audio content is easy to consume and doesn't require a lot of attention, which makes it perfect for busy people. Also, reels with audio from artists are gaining more traction than ever.
Some brands even have audio style guides now, to complement their brand style guides that cover graphic treatments.
This is a trend that is only going to grow in the next few years, so brands need to start thinking about how they can create content that will appeal to their target audience using existing trending artists' audios.
8. Celebrity influencers aren't a good way to go
There might be a misconception that celebrities should be considered ideal influencers. Brands paid exorbitant fees to just attach their name to actors, musicians and athletes. However, these nearly impossible-to-measure relationships have changed dramatically over the last few years — hence, the way to approach talent partnerships as a whole.
There is significant research showing that brands that align with celebrities in their marketing are as likely to experience a negative brand impact as a positive one. People realize that celebrities have been paid endorsers for decades, so their social posts may generate reach but no real benefit.
Brands must take into account the fact that not all influencers are celebrities, and not all celebrities are influencers. There's a grey line between the two, and it's important for brands to understand the difference before making any decisions.
9. A move towards authenticity
The final trend that we're seeing is a continuing move towards authenticity. With the rise of social media, we first saw a trend towards more polished and perfect content. But, as people become more and more aware of the artificiality of social media, they're starting to crave authenticity. This is particularly true of Gen Z.
This is a trend that we're seeing across all forms of content, not just influencer content. People want to see real people with real lives, not perfect lives that have been carefully curated for social media.
As a result, we're seeing a trend towards more authentic influencer content. This is content that is raw and unedited, that shows the reality of the influencer's life, not just the highlight reel. Think of BeReal for a moment. This just simply means that audiences are more interested in influencer-generated content that is relatable. It still may generate some inspiration, but in a realistic, achievable way.
Approach to Modern Influencer Marketing
The influencer marketing industry is a small world with cutthroat competition — the way to go is to develop long-term partnerships with the influencer, not just a one-off post here and there.
For starters, it allows for a greater level of trust to be built between the influencer and their audience. This is because the audience knows that the influencer is only promoting products or services that they actually believe in, not just because they're being paid to do so.
It also allows brands to tap into the influencer's audience in a more meaningful way. When an influencer promotes a product or service that their audience knows they believe in, they're more likely to take notice and be interested in what the influencer has to say.
To add to that, we believe that in 2023, it's a great approach to start optimizing influencer content by scoring each piece; syndication to get very targeted, and the efficiency of syndication relative to the cost of the influencer. We’ve been doing this since 2015 to great effect.
The Bottom Line
In 2023, the key for brands is to stay on top of the latest trends and be willing to experiment with new content formats — especially when working with Influencer marketing.
These are the top marketing trends that we think will shape influencer marketing in 2023. As influencer marketing continues to grow and evolve, we expect to see more changes and trends emerge. But these are the ones that we think will have the biggest impact on the industry in the next year.
Need help with your influencer marketing strategy for 2023? Contact us for more.