Key Trends in Influencer Marketing in 2022 – MarTech Series

After nearly two years of upheaval in the eCommerce landscape, brands are under increasing pressure to stay ahead of the rising competition and generate new sales. Fortunately, some tools make it much easier to build a loyal audience for a product or service – and one of those is influencer collaborations.
An increase of 465% in searches for the phrase “influencer marketing” on Google since 2016 shows that most companies already understand influencers help gain exposure. Still, social media is not a cash cow. To realize the full potential of influencer marketing, brands need to know the latest trends and adjust their investment decisions accordingly.
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Let’s dive into the current tendencies defining the influencer marketing space and learn how to get the most out of each.
With marketers having to choose between many different social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube, it can be overwhelming to decide on the best fit for marketing their products. For example, Facebook may have the most extensive user base, but it’s harder to identify and connect with the desired target audience due to the platform’s size and varying use cases like news, events, peer interactions, advertisement, and so on.
Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram have a much more refined focus: Their purpose is to attract users with engaging visuals, such as short videos and high-quality images. On YouTube, people are looking for long video content that lets them dive deep into a topic and receive solid information on a particular subject. 
When deciding on how to allocate their influencer budget, these are some pointers: In 2021, 48% of marketers used Instagram as their main influencer marketing channel, although a staggering 46% built their brand awareness on TikTok. YouTube ranked third with 6% of influencer marketing spend. It demonstrates that Instagram and TikTok are the preferred marketing channels, especially since they have proven to drive high engagement rates. YouTube enjoys the highest engagement rates, but as influencer pricing is much higher compared to other platforms, marketers are less likely to invest frequently. 
Every marketing effort has its expected return on investment (ROI), so marketers need to spend their budget intelligently. The average cost of content on Instagram is $410, including static photos, story content, and reels. The average price for content on TikTok is slightly higher at $530, as TikTok influencers work mainly with video formats. YouTube took the lead, with an average of $1025 for content collaboration on the platform.
Brands must further be prepared to determine their budget based on their industry, the influencer’s engagement rates or the number of followers, and the type of content they want the influencer to post. 
For example, long videos on YouTube prices are much higher than short video content on TikTok and static posts on Instagram. But it’s also much more rewarding for brands to build an engaged audience on YouTube. YouTube is beneficial for full product reviews and storytelling, and the longevity of the content is a unique advantage. In contrast, TikTok videos are hype-driven and have a short life cycle, but they can help less-known brands quickly rise to fame if they hit the #trend nail on the head.
One effective way to increase the return on investment on any platform is to work with micro- or even nano-influencers. At first glance, micro-influencers may have a smaller reach, but there is real potential behind them. Micro-influencers tailor their content specifically to their audience and serve their interests with their targeted posts. So when brands match their target audience with the niche audience of creators, the effectiveness is unrivaled.
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When it comes to either watching a video or reading text, 72% of people prefer video. Videos are much more effective for raising brand awareness than static content, with engagement rates up to two times higher. Comparing the popularity of TikTok video posts, Collabstr concluded that the most effective video length is between 30 and 60 seconds.
The biggest expected trend for 2022 is a further increase in the video hype. Video content is more easily absorbed, has higher interaction rates than images, and meets the zeitgeist of the fastest-growing consumer generation – Gen Z. Cisco estimates that video will account for 82% of global internet traffic by 2022 and that live video will increase 15-fold over that period, accounting for 17% of internet video traffic by 2022.
Brands that hire influencers for video content and use this content elsewhere have a higher likelihood of being discovered. They can also leverage the content of creators to share it across their social media channels, in their email newsletters, or on their landing pages. 
Across a number of industries, videos can increase brand awareness and boost conversion rates much faster than images or text. Just think of business areas like travel or beauty, where influencers can show their audience the hotel amenities or the direct effects of beauty products in an engaging video. But it’s not exclusively hotels, clothing stores, and hair products that can tap into this power – explainer videos on cryptocurrencies, medical advice, or showcasing gaming software work just as well.
Another trend that is shaking up online marketing is live streams. Most social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, offer the ability to go live, and brands partner with influencers to promote their products to live audiences. An influencer’s live stream is the perfect incubator for discovery, product reviews, and demonstrations of how a product or service works and its benefits by a trusted social media user.
In 2020, Walmart used TikTok for its “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular”, which featured 10 TikTok creators, including influencers such as Michael Le, Devan Anderson, Taylor Hage, and Cole and Savannah Labrant. During the live stream, they answered questions in the chat and tried on items for sale. Today, all these influencers have become brand ambassadors, engaging hundreds of thousands of people daily. Brands can use this tool for tutorials on using a product, interviews, or “behind-the-scenes” videos. 
Investing in influencers to promote your products on social media requires analyzing your marketing goals, the audience you want to target, and a well-developed budget plan. Because ultimately, the best tip for influencer marketing in 2022 is to plan it more strategically than ever before.
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Kyle Dulay is the Co-Founder of Collabstr, an influencer marketplace
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