These 5 trends will define influencer marketing in 2022 

By Alexander Frolov, CEO and co-founder of HypeAuditor.

2021 has been a big year for influencer marketing. With 2022 fast approaching, here are some upcoming trends brands should keep an eye on in the new year.

1 The increase of brand ambassadors over one-time deals:

Over the last few years, it has become clear that influencers who promote fewer brands appear more authentic to their followers than those who advertise multiple brands weekly. From the perspective of brands, it is also becoming increasingly challenging to tell their stories in just one influencer post.

As a result, in 2022, I strongly believe we will increasingly see more long-term partnerships, including brand ambassadors, instead of one-time influencer deals.

We’ve seen this in the UK with Molly Mae and fashion brand PrettyLittleThing (PLT), which resulted in the influencer becoming PLT’s Creative Director. One week after the announcement, HypeAuditor can reveal that Molly Mae gained 112k new followers.

On average, Molly Mae’s posts resulted in high visibility for the brands as they generated $356k in Earned Media Value with a reach of 3.5M people, 187k likes and an Engagement Rate of 2.98%. Overall, Prettylittlething is ranked at the 14th place as one of the most mentioned brands by Instagram influencers globally.

When audiences on Instagram have multiple touch points with branded content, the content becomes familiar and recognisable, and as a result, much more authentic.

2 Influencers will have more opportunities to monetize their audiences will continue to blur the traditional lines of influencing:

Historically, influencers found their fame across social media platforms and remained there. What we have seen recently is influencers blurring the lines of traditional influence, and expanding to other platforms, such as TV, books, reality TV shows, etc, with more opportunities to monetise their audiences.

While collaborating with brands still accounts for a significant portion of an influencers’ income, other sources of income will continue to take up a large share.

A recent survey led by HypeAuditor highlighted that a career as an influencer may not be as lucrative as it may seem. On average, influencers earn $2,970 per month from their Instagram account, while micro-influencers (between 1,000-10,000 followers) earn on average $1,420 per month and influencers with more than 1 million followers average $15,536 per month. As a result, only 4% of respondents live on income from an account.

3 New categories of influencers are emerging, whilst standard categories are becoming much more fluid:

Look back to 2015 and social media influencers could be segregated into a handful of categories.

Now, we’re seeing new categories emerging all the time, with influencers that choose to break the mould and influence across multiple categories. In 2021, we have seen the rise of influencers and ‘fintok’, as well as “petfluencers”, “skinfluencers” and “granfluencers”.

These new categories will continue to gain momentum in 2022.

4 Virtual influencers are here to stay:

We first saw virtual influencers, a digital character created online and given a personality on social media, first appear a couple of years ago, but next year we’ll see them solidify their place in the world of social influence, securing more brand deals than ever before.

This year, we saw Superplastic raise $20M to expand its cartoon influencer universe, and Rozy, the South Korean virtual influencer, earn around $1M in sponsorships.

The recent announcement by Facebook around metaverse will, with no doubt, affect the future of virtual influencers.

5 The Rise of social ecommerce:

While social commerce was previously focused on ads or promotions, platforms are beginning to provide new and innovative selling solutions that focus on making the journey easier for buyers.

Moving into 2022, brands should re-evaluate the purchasing paths they offer and consider taking advantage of social selling opportunities through Instagram posts, Reels, Stories, and more.

Brands should also remember that the power of influence is everywhere and not simply confined on social media platforms. The recent launch of ITV’s new shoppable TV feature, in the UK, during the latest season of Love Island, in partnership with retailer Boots, illustrates this well. This new feature enabled viewers to shop directly on the Boots’ website any products featured on the show.

In 2022, brands need to recognise this and consider their influencer marketing beyond social media platforms only.

Photo by Zan on Unsplash.

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