Two months into the new decade, and it’s clear the marketing world has entered uncharted territory. Paid social influencer strategies made their way into the presidential race. The influencer community is coordinating a response to Covid-19. In these uncertain times, one thing’s clear: influencer programming is being applied in new and novel ways across vastly different sectors.

If you haven’t already, check out Collectively’s recently-released industry report. According to industry data hound @InfluenceWeekly, our “epic” predictions will help you find your footing and stay the course all year long.

01: 20/20 Vision

For those wondering if influencer marketing is a passing fad, signs increasingly point to no. More than 380 new influencer marketing-focused agencies and platforms were estimated to have been established last year.

In our research study with marketing leaders, influencers ranked among the top three most invested in channels for 2020, and the practice is likely to be under the purview of brand marketing teams (often with big budgets and power to rally teams cross-functionally). Forward-thinking practitioners are already banking on influencers to make up for the loss of valuable, first-party audience data that will happen once Google stops allowing third-party cookies to be used for ad targeting.

Brands should take the long view and discover how to make the influencer channel work harder over the long haul.

Read on:
Collectively 2020 Report / Influencer Marketing Hub / Forbes

02: Ephemeral features not disappearing

A founder of Vine is breathing new life into six-second video—a format he piloted—with his new app Byte. Unlike Vine, which famously put creators’ needs on the back burner, Byte plans to pay creators 100% of the revenue creators earn on the platform for an initial period. At the moment, TikTok owns short-form video culture, but with this financial model, Byte could see a surge of activity and adoption, and inspire creators to bring their audiences to the new platform.

After minimal changes to its core product, Twitter announced it’s experimenting with a Stories-like feature in Brazil. LinkedIn is reportedly testing a similar format to drive casual conversation on the platform. Should they prove successful, these features may be released later in 2020—adding to collaboration toolkits and meeting a user need for less formal communication.

Brands and creators alike should focus on diversifying content strategies beyond just Instagram (kick-start some ideas with this just-published resource from our co-founder).

Read On:
Techcrunch / The Verge / NY Times / Collectively on InfluencerDB

03: Keeping the spark alive—at scale

A recent article by Digiday illuminated how brands’ relationships with creators are growing increasingly impersonal, characterized by templated, mass email communications with no room for negotiation. When frustrations over algorithms and ad revenue flare up, creators turn to Facebook Groups and group chats on Instagram to vent. These forums present risks to brands who aren’t putting relationships at the center of their influencer strategy.

Followers want to peek behind the curtain too, and creators are ready to tell all. Established creator Grace Atwood regularly and openly educates her audience about how her sponsored content works, and Natalie Zfat recently published informative hot takes on the top influencer search queries to combat misinformation.

As influencer marketing becomes more sophisticated, contracting and relationship management will too—practitioners must plan to invest time and energy with each creator to keep the magic alive.

Read on:
Digiday / Digiday / The Stripe / Forbes

Additional Reads

  • Rihanna Unveils Fenty Beauty House Specifically for TikTok Users (Complex)

  • RXBars ‘put everything in the hands of influencers’ (Digiday)

  • Westminster Dog Show implements TikTok strategy to win over Gen Z (AdAge)

  • Benefit Cosmetics pivots from influencer trips (Glossy)

  • Aerie hosts first influencer summit to build community (Glossy)

  • TikTok marketplace applauded by creators and adds new analytics for brands—but is it the best strategy for recruitment? (Social Media Today)

  • Does the black market for influencer likeness signal an expected rise in image protection policies and licensing lawsuits? (Wired)