The pandemic had disrupted every industry forcing marketers to shift their plans and thrust into an uncertain and swiftly changing landscape. Brands are looking for independent creators than productions due to pandemic restrictions such as sheltering in place.
The industry was in troubled waters as pandemic had put a pause on all the plans, took many industries out of the market, and affected many influencers’ content. Some marketers even continued with Facebook boycotts or social media pauses.
It has been quite a challenging period for influencers. However, the influencer industry is recovering and bouncing back, showing incredible resilience and creativity. Consumers are spending more time on social media interacting with content creators after being cooped up at home. With budgeting constraints and large scale, ad production is difficult, brands are turning to independent creators for a quick, less-expensive, and easy-to-produce creative content. This is providing the much-required boost to the influencer marketing industry.
Numbers Says It All
Social Bakers released the State of Influencer Marketing Report and found out that there is a fall in sponsored content from March to May and a pivot towards micro-influencers. Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers said,
“Nano and micro-influencers are now seen as high-value resources, bringing high impact without the big price tag of macro and mega influencers. As budgets remain tight, savvy brands will likely continue to expand partnerships with these smaller influencers as part of a smarter social media strategy in the wake of the continuing worldwide pandemic.”
Another finding by Shareablee, an audience-based social media measurement company states that branded content from influencers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter was up 21% in July from March despite a decline in sponsored influencers post- 87% on Instagram and 57% on Facebook in April compared to last year.
Influencer marketing has changed in several ways during the outbreak. There is a shift in consumer behavior more towards digital in this pandemic due to the lockdown. The engagement with branded influencers posts grew 5 times faster to 57.2 million total actions in July compared with March, according to Shareablee.
A rise in sponsored posts is seen since July after the volume fell almost 17 percent in March and another 6 percent in April reveals Data from CreatorIQ.
This proves that the industry is still very strong and influencers are quick to adapt with conversion rates increased across platforms in the pandemic. As quoted in Adage, Melissa Rosenthal, co-founder at Circle said,
“Brands took a few weeks to figure out how to position themselves for a new world. Now I’m seeing probably 5 times the outreach I was seeing pre-pandemic. Small brands, large brands, new brands, everyone.”
The pandemic is benefitting the influencers with the increase in viewership as alternate media or sports events have declined drastically. Presently, influencers are the only production houses that are open and can make new, creative, and custom content for brands amidst pandemic restrictions. According to the eMarketer report, followers are looking for more DIY activities and short videos.
Clorox Followed The Influencer Way!
Clorox.Co is getting back to sponsored influencer work after a pandemic pause. Through the Reach Agency, Clorox recently teamed up with YouTube comedians The Try Guys to market its latest scent of Fresh Step cat litter. In the video, the creators open the world’s smelliest foods to demonstrate the ability of new Fresh Step cat litter with Febreze Freshness and Gain Scent covers the odors. The video garnered nearly a million organic views on its first day on August 15. The partnership with Try Guys who have 7.3 million subscribers is Clorox’s third venture into influencer-led demo-tainment.
Clorox shifted the plan of conventional ads to influencer content while planning the campaign in March as the pandemic situation would make it hard to produce ads. Another major decision taken by the brand was to boycott Facebook and Instagram advertising for the remaining year while the project was ongoing.
As reported in Adage, Deb Crandall, director of marketing and studio lead said,
“We have had to ask our partners not to post this on their Facebook or Instagram channels, and we’re not putting any paid support behind it. It definitely takes a channel out of the mix to reach our audience, but that’s why we’re excited about the results we’re seeing. To reach almost a million views without Facebook or Instagram makes us think we’re onto something.”
Finally, brands and creators are learning to operate in the ‘ new normal ’. In the time of crisis, savvy social media influencers are engaging with their followers in a fairly two-way communication that even brands could never have on their own.
TikTok, mostly considered as an entertainment platform is improving its advertising offerings and nascent Creator Marketplace that matches advertisers with vetted publishers and influencers. DigiDay reported that TikTok is testing a new ad format namely the ‘Shop Now’ button. This would link brands to the leading influencers allowing the creators to display the Call-To-Action button in their videos. The ad revenue will be divided between TikTok and influencers.
The revenue split ratio is not decided yet but DigiDay reported that the company is discussing 20/80 splits in Tik Tok’s favor. This model allows TikTok to tap into revenue that was previously shared between advertisers and influencers.
Can you shop on TikTok?
The Shop Now option influences the user to shop the product right away is one way of having both – performance and direct response ad products. The creator CTA feature is still in the early testing stage and is available to only select advertisers and agencies.
As quoted by DigiDay, a TikTok spokeswoman,
“We are constantly experimenting with ideas and features to improve the app experience for our users. TikTok is a platform for creative expression and a big part of that is showing and sharing the things you love with others. We’re in the early stages of testing a way users can add links to products to their videos and will share more updates when we have them.”
Earlier this month we witnessed Levi’s was among the first brands to partner with Tik Tok’s influencers and trial the Shop Now’ program. It partnered with the influencers to promote its “Future Finish” customizable denim technology on the platform.
Levi’s reported the product views doubled on the ‘Future Finish’ page that featured in the campaign. All advertisers can access to ‘Shop Now’ button to help drive traffic to their websites but is different from the CTA Beta test said TikTok spokesperson to DigiDay.
Is TikTok following the YouTube way?
TikTok has increased its focus on Creators and for this, it had launched Creators Marketplace late last year. The Creators marketplace helps advertisers to filter out the platform’s top creators.
It appears that TikTok is moving towards YouTube Creator shared revenue model than the Instagram model. Amy Luca, chief executive at influencer marketing company TheAmplify said,
One of the things that Instagram struggles with is retrofitting some of their programs to pull out money from the gray market ecosystem that is being earned by influencers and paid by brands on their platform.”
Growing users of the social video app
TikTok has been growing rapidly over the past year and has been on a tear since the lockdown. Data company Apptopia estimates TikTok was the second top free app on iOs and Google Play stores in the U.S. on April 28. It is also estimated to have 328 monthly active users and was downloaded 100 million times worldwide between Mar 20 through April 28.
Jude Rajanathan, a global director at media agency Zenith stated that TikTok will work on improving its CTA buttons to push for more performances and direct-response ads.