The world of marketing is ever changing, with new methods of promoting your goods/services popping up every day. It can be very overwhelming to those of having to navigate this maze on an everyday basis, however some trends tend to stick around longer than others. With the rise of social media many years ago, came the growth of ‘Influencers’ and their ability to communicate with your target audience in a new way. At first, this organic, transparent and open method of communication captured their audiences based on reviews, genuine use and discussion of a brands products or services. Recently however, these influencers blur the lines traditional media, sometimes gaining the same traction as mainstream celebrities. While this might seem like a dream for brands working with influencers, most consumers are now a lot more hesitant to trust influencers when it is pretty clear how easy an influencers ‘opinion’ can be paid for by a brand. These changes have been laying the groundwork for a huge overhaul in the Influencer Marketing Industry, here are our predictions for how the landscape might look sometime in the future:
The Rise and Acceptance of CGI Influencers
Have you ever heard of Lilmiquela? While some of you may not recognise the name, I can guarantee that most of you have seen or heard of her in the last 6 months. She has worked with giant brands such as Calvin Klein, Diesel and Prada, she has released her own music and most noteworthy, she only exists in the virtual world. Yes, you read that right, she is completely virtual. The online community has had its debates as to whether she is a real person, augmented by CGI, or if she is in no-way real and completely CGI. Either way, programmers and designers work endlessly creating the scenes we see feature on her Instagram, which is actually part of the reason CGI Influencers are likely to grow in popularity. The possibilities are endless and brands can now work with developers to create the ideal setting for their products. This is much more attractive to marketers than the uncertainty that comes with working with traditional (human) influencers.
Focus on Micro-Influencers
The success of any influencer marketing campaign doesn’t solely ride on the number of followers, rather the engagement and relationship that the influencer holds with their audience. Micro-Influencers might have smaller reach, but the reach they have is much more valuable as their audience has a bond with them, trusts them and genuinely respects their opinion. Major global brands have started to realise this and some have started to focus their efforts more on micro-influencers rather than large-scale, mainstream influencers. Take Coca-Cola as the example here; as a brand, they could have any influencer they want. They have the money, the status and the reputation. However, this year we’ve seen them put the spotlight on micro-influencers like Miette Dierckx for their campaigns. Miette only has 36.9k followers, which is pretty modest in the world of Influencer Marketing, but Coke saw the value in choosing her, thanks to her strong relationship with her travel and food obsessed audience.
Advertising Regulation Clampdowns
Depending on where you are in the world, the laws surrounding advertising and Influencer marketing differ. In Ireland for example, the governing body for advertising practice is the ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland). It is worth noting however that as of right now, the ASAI is self-regulated. This lends itself to lack-lustre punishments for non-compliance to regulations by influencers which has meant that in the past, no consequences have truly been suffered by those in the industry. This cannot remain the case for much longer, as Influencer Marketing continues to grow at such a large scale. Some might argue that influencer marketing has, or will soon surpass traditional media advertising in value, if this is the case then stricter regulations such as those in traditional advertising need to be enforced, legally.
These are just a snippet of the possibilities for the unknown future of Influencer Marketing. There are also things to consider such as the emergence of Influencer Networks, In-House influencers, new technologies, changes to social media platforms (did you know Instagram recently made changes to hide the number of likes that a post receives?), and the ever-changing needs of the modern consumer. The future is far from certain, but change is inevitable.