The global influencer market reached a record $16.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. As we enter 2023, there are several key trends that brands should be aware of and plan to use to their advantage in their influencer marketing strategies this year.
Trend #1 - Shoppable Content
One trend to watch is the rise of shoppable content. Livestream shopping, in which influencers go live on platforms like Instagram or Facebook to showcase and review products for their followers, has gained significant traction in China and is starting to be adopted in other markets as well. Instagram's recent introduction of Live Shopping allows users to purchase products directly from Instagram Live, increasing the reach of this trend. While live shopping has not yet taken off in the same way in the United States, brands may consider leveraging shoppable content on platforms like TikTok or on their own channels to reach audiences at the right time and place. Influencers offer the added benefit of providing a seamless checkout experience within their own content, making it easy for customers to complete their purchase journey.
Trend #2- Influencer Subscriptions
Another trend to keep an eye on is influencer subscriptions. As social platforms experiment with paid subscriptions and newsletter services become more popular, creators have the opportunity to connect directly with their audience through exclusive, subscription-based content. This can be valuable for brands as well, as they can sponsor specialized, subscriber-only content or reach out to a tight-knit subscriber community. This trend is part of the wider trend of influencers looking for new, stable revenue streams. Many influencers are starting their own businesses, offering services and selling both digital and physical products. This trend is particularly prevalent in niches such as personal development, financial advice, nutrition, and spiritual awakening, but it is not limited to these areas. Influencers in a variety of niches are taking the entrepreneurial route and leveraging their influence to create and sell their own products and services.
Trend #3- Social Search
Social search is another trend to watch out for in 2023. Younger users are increasingly turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok for discovery purposes, with 40% of Gen Z users preferring to use these platforms over Google for search. TikTok's search results, which can be filtered based on likes and views, are often personalized and relevant to the user and can include cultural elements like music, live events, and people. Brands should consider their social search strategies, particularly for topics such as travel, beauty, restaurants, and recipes, as the right TikTok campaign can help boost brand-associated search results.
Trend #4- Video-based Content
Video-based content is on the rise and is expected to continue growing in popularity. This is due in part to the emergence of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, which allow influencers to share their lives and personalities through entertaining and easy-to-consume content. Brands are also using these platforms to create challenges and TikTok dances to support their marketing campaigns, and the Instagram algorithm supports this trend, making it easier for influencers and brands to reach their target audiences through video content. YouTube is also entering the short-form video market with its own offering, Shorts, which will be eligible for monetization in the coming months. YouTube has the advantage of being a well-established platform and may be more attractive to creators due to its better creator revenue pathways.
Trend #5- Influencer Meets Affiliate
Influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are converging as businesses focus more on generating sales and conversions rather than just awareness. In the current economic climate, marketers need to show the effectiveness of their influencer campaigns through tangible sales numbers. This shift towards creator partnerships that drive sales has led to the adoption of tactics from affiliate marketing, such as coupon codes, affiliate links, and revenue-share compensation, to better track and attribute sales generated from influencer campaigns. In fact, over 45% of marketers are now using tracked referral links to measure the impact of their influencer campaigns on sales. These tactics are becoming increasingly important for determining performance-based fees for influencers and creating high-return campaigns.
Trend #6- The Importance of First Party Data
As a company that values data, our final trend prediction for 2023 is the increasing importance of first-party data in influencer marketing. As concerns about data privacy increase and Google and Apple announce plans to remove third-party cookies, influencer marketing will need to adapt and rely more on first-party data. Some influencer marketing platforms already have tools in place to help brands find the best influencers for their campaigns without relying on third-party data. Brands can use first-party data about their own customers to identify influential individuals who can serve as authentic ambassadors for their brand. Activating influencers from within a brand's own customer base can be an effective strategy, as these individuals already know and love the brand, making them particularly authentic content creators at a low cost.
In conclusion, influencer marketing is a growing industry that is expected to reach $22.2 billion by 2025. Whatever trends and technologies emerge in 2023, it's important to stay nimble and be ready to adapt your strategies as needed.