7 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2023
This article is taken from our report Influencer Marketing in 2021: vision, projections and trends, available as a free download.
1. Scarcity of data
Most global platforms have already defined strategies to restrict third-party access to their data:
Two recent factors have accelerated this trend:
- The Cambridge Analytica “Gate”:
Pretexting user protection, platforms are now reducing the possibility of profiling their users.
- Social media websites now have their own Influencer Marketing initiatives:
Fragmentation of the IM market is prompting platforms to restrict third-party access to their data and launch their own IM initiatives to capture the colossal budgets that transit via their technologies. We can reasonably expect data access and use to be very limited and controlled,
and particularly subject to influencer and advertiser authorisation. If practically no market players have access to data, the added value will switch from «discovery» to other non-data-dependent features.
2. Era of the CIO (Chief Influence Officer)
The second trend is the Era of the CIO (Chief Influence Officer) or the assertion of Influencer Marketing as a field in its own right and common to the different corporate functions.
In a company, influencer marketing is now done at every level of communication and marketing strategies. But there are a lot of disparities, with no shared best practices, no effect of scale and very little coordination. Since 2018, dedicated «influencer» functions have begun to appear in organisations and agencies, with increasingly experienced and
specialized profiles. Influencer Marketing training and qualifications are also emerging, in communication schools, and in IM platforms, etc. And everything suggests that international business schools and universities will quickly follow suit. Within organisations, C-Levels are starting to realise that influencer marketing is a real long-term driver.
Soon, businesses will no doubt have a CIO (Chief Influence Officer), or a CKO (Chief KOL Officer), or a COLO (Chief Opinion Leader Officer). Whatever the title, after the CDO trend (Chief Digital Officers), there will definitely be a CIO trend.
3. All Influencers
«All Influencers» is the third trend. Companies will eventually use and
promote 100% of their stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders) as Key Opinion Leaders.
Companies are packed with talent, some of whom are already content creators or influencers (or Key Opinion Leaders as we call them at Kolsquare). Many businesses have already identified them or encourage them to develop their talents. Some already use their employees as ambassadors and encourage them to post work-related content on their personal profiles, and not just on Linkedin.
In B2C, brands detect customers on social media via social listening tools. User Generated Content (CGU) and customer comments are rewarded by brands and reused through dedicated tools. In B2B, brands can generally partner with customers to optimise their power on social media as KOLs.
4. The end of Amateurism
Another big trend to expect is the end of amateurism or the professionalization of influencer marketing practices, from advertisers to influencers.
After a lot of experimentation, pioneering IM agencies and brands have adopted methods, processes and tools in response to the growing volumes and challenges. Business organisations, like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and brand unions (such as Union Des Marques or UDM in France) are also setting up think tanks on the influencer marketing theme with the aim of helping brands define a professional framework for their IM practices.
Finally, the many influencer marketing platforms have evolved in recent years. Thanks to growing funds, they are now specializing and improving their offer.
5. Influence at Scale
Marketing and communication professionals should also plan for “Influence at Scale”. Advertiser-KOL collaborations will increase, both in terms of volume and complexity. On average, marketing specialists today use dozens or even hundreds of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for their brands.
Most businesses that have adopted influencer marketing have regularly grown their pool of influencers. They now work with them over the long term and, over time, they are learning to manage these relationships. The dramatic increase in influencer marketing investments and underlying financial difficulties will no doubt fuel a boom in the volumes of collaboration. As a great deal of communication is necessary for each collaboration, this will also increase the contact points between a brand and its KOL. In light of this current trend, I think there will be soon be thousands, or even millions of collaborations between influencers and brands.
6. ROI-driven Influencer Marketing
ROI-driven Influencer Marketing will be the norm in the years ahead. In other words, Influencer Marketing will be a media channel with campaign performances being carefully measured and controlled.
The financial stakes of influencer marketing are now huge and bring the need to manage ROI with precision: influencer marketing has gone from being a PR topic to a media topic (meeting both branding and transformation challenges), with much bigger financial exposure and much more focus on ROI.
ROI is becoming a central question in IM discussions: practically all prospects and customers ask about ROI, KPIs, how they can measure it, how it compares with other digital approaches, and performances or bests practices, etc.
In 2018, 38% of global media investments ($590 billion according to Dentsu) were digital (vs. 37% TV) and the trend is becoming more accentuated, especially on social media websites. Furthermore, the AdBlockers constraint is challenging traditional advertising in favour of native advertising. Influencer marketing budgets should grow considerably in the coming years, probably up to 30 or even 50% of media budgets. It will be a huge market globally, but on a regional and local level too.
7. KOLtent Factory
Influencers are the best way for brands to meet the challenges of creating large amount of digital content.
We are moving into the era of the «Content Factory» or «KOLtent Factory»: content creation has become a major focus for brands that need to sustain a growing number of communication channels with increasingly demanding audiences. This content must be original, stylish, creative and renewed frequently.
Influencer Marketing provides an answer to some of these content creation challenges like other media, it is a real content factory with endless creative potential. There is as much content as the ideas that KOLs post non-stop all over the world.
This trend is being confirmed, with brands multiplying their collaborations for exclusive content creation (photos, videos, but also capsule collections,
menus, travel guides, etc.). The once short-lived content that influencers produced for brands is now viewed as usable over the longer term.