In early 2023, following the influencer marketing trends, Tarte, a US beauty brand, organized a lavish three-day trip to Dubai, flying in 50 beauty influencers along with their plus ones. It didn’t turn out well. Armies of social media users considered the luxurious journey as “tone-deaf” in the midst of the ongoing economic downturn in the US and Europe. This is how the “De-influencing” trend was born- sharing with people what not to buy on social media.
Marketers were confused: Is this the end of the “influencer era”? No, but it was a sign that the influencer marketing is changing. What worked so well before the pandemic no longer does. In fact, social media is changing at such a rapid pace that brands often struggle to keep up.
What can eCommerce brands do to remain proactive and avoid getting caught by surprise?
- Stay informed about the state of social media and influencer marketing.
- Keep up with the latest trends.
- Speed up the decision-making process.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the important stuff that e-commerce brands should take note of in 2023. We’ll be talking about the latest influencer marketing trends, the key things to keep an eye on so you can make smart choices when involving influencers in your marketing strategies and so forth.
So, let’s get started and make sure you’re up to speed on all things influencer marketing!
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The Influencer Marketing in 2023
In 2022, the influencer marketing industry reached a value of $16.4 billion, marking a growth of 42.3 percent from 2020 to 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic was a driving force behind this surge. However the average annual growth from 2016 to 2023 surpasses this figure, standing at 44.3%. So, despite the challenges, the market size of influencers is continuing to grow.
As the industry continues to expand, more businesses dedicate budgets towards influencer marketing. By 2022, the percentage has risen from 39 % in 2017 to 77%. Today four of five companies (82%) are planning to allocate a budget to influencer marketing.
For eCommerce brands, it is important to also acknowledge a significant shift in user behavior. Instead of relying on conventional search engines, people are increasingly utilizing social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram when searching for information. Recently Google revealed 40% of young people prefer these platforms to search engines. This implies that more people will be searching for product information on social media.
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Hottest Influencer Marketing Trends for eCommerce in 2023
While extravagant influencer trips may have lost their appeal, there are still many opportunities for effective partnerships with influencers.
Here are some current influencer marketing trends that can assist your brand in mastering its social media strategy.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is any form of media or information created and shared by individuals online. As businesses actively seek out authentic content, related to their brands, that has been shared by their customers, they have started utilizing influencers (UGC creators) to create such “user-generated” content for their company’s social media platforms.
Hiring UGC creators helps businesses, especially if the brand has a presence on TikTok, obtain that trendy content that feels both authentic and natural. It can also help this type of content go viral faster and more inexpensively..
Here is an example from Samsung’s official TikTok page:
Micro-Influencers and Nano-Influencers
It’s not always the influencers with the largest followings who will have the most impact on campaigns. According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s State of Influencer Marketing 2023: Benchmark Report, brands prefer working with nano (fewer than 5,000 followers) and micro-influencers (5,000 to 100,000 followers) over macro-influencers and celebrities. The reason is that influencers with smaller audiences receive higher levels of engagement.
As the influencer pool is continuously growing, with estimates suggesting there are 37 million influencer accounts on Instagram alone, eCommerce companies have no trouble finding the perfect influencer for their clients.
Additionally, working with smaller influencers is more budget-friendly than pursuing competitive celebrity accounts. It also allows businesses to collaborate with multiple influencers, reaching different niche markets through different partnerships.
AI Influencers and Computer-Generated Spokespeople
AI influencers or virtual influencers are digital personalities designed to engage and interact with social media users, often with the appearance of real people. They can generate content, endorse products, and build online communities. Examples for virtual influencers include Miquela, VNCCII, Ai Angelica and Ai Ailynn.
While they are still dependent on humans for their social media profiles, they can be powered by artificial intelligence as a chatbot, such as Kuki AI, who is the closest thing there is to an AI influencer. Since Kuki’s first appearance in July 2020, 25 million people have interacted with her.
Computer-generated spokespeople can be created by brands and companies to represent their products or services in advertisements or promotional campaigns. These virtual spokespeople can be customized to match specific brand identities and can deliver scripted messages with human-like expressions and mannerisms.
The average social media user typically uses around 6-7 different social media platforms. As a result, cross-channel campaigns have become important for eCommerce brands.
Engaging in cross-channel collaborations enables brands to reach a significantly larger audience. For instance, TikTok is primarily used for entertainment, while Instagram serves as a platform for socializing, finding inspiration, and receiving product recommendations.
When partnering with influencers on both TikTok and Instagram, a product can be shared in an engaging and imaginative manner on TikTok, while still being presented in a visually appealing and informative way on Instagram. This allows for reaching diverse audiences on different platforms.
There is a growing influencer marketing trend of brands partnering with their ambassadors to launch products or collections together. These collaborations are highly beneficial as they clearly communicate to the influencer’s audiences that there is an authentic connection between the brand and the product.
The trend works with all levels of influencers. For instance, GymShark successfully launched three collections in collaboration with their ambassador, Whitney Simmons. These collections were incredibly popular, selling out within the first few days.
Same for Kim Kardashian’s Beats by Dre earbuds collab that quickly sold out when it launched last year by Apple.
Once an eCommerce brand has found the perfect influencers, it’s a smart move to transform them into a brand ambassador program. These relationships go beyond just a few social media posts.
Being a brand ambassador takes influencer marketing to a whole new level: they genuinely use and recommend your brand’s products in their daily lives, both on and off social media. This creates a much stronger impact compared to one-time collaborations on platforms like Instagram.
It’s all about building deeper connections and establishing long-term partnerships that resonate with audiences.
Companies can also create their own influencers. They can take an existing, charismatic or personable employee and put them in the social media spotlight to boost their presence among the brand’s target audience.
This trend is rooted in B2B marketing where usually senior leadership teams share industry insights and successes on LinkedIn.
eCommerce businesses can tap into this trend and find the perfect influencers within their own company. After all, employees generally have an in-depth knowledge about the products their company sells. This often means that they have a genuine connection with the brand that surpasses any outsourced influencer. In fact, the ideal candidate may be an entry-level hire with a creative background and a naturally charismatic personality.
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More Regulations for Influencer Collaborations
As the demand for influencer collaborations increases, it presents new challenges in terms of legislation. In the US The Federal Trade Commission and Advertising Laws have established the general principle that all advertising content must be clearly marked.
Other countries are becoming even more proactive in addressing this issue and implementing regulations at the national level. For instance, in 2021 Denmark banned influencers advertising cosmetic surgery, sugar dating, tattoo services, hair removal, teeth whitening, energy drinks, slimming products, and tanning beds. Infringement of this law is punishable by a minimum fine of $3,800.
This trend has to be closely monitored by eCommerce companies, but hopefully, it will result in more responsible influencer marketing practices.
Development of Influencer Technology
Brands aiming to establish influencer relationships and conduct long-term collaborations recognize the necessity of effective influencer marketing software.
As a result, influencer CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools have emerged, enabling brands to centralize the management of their influencers, negotiations, collaborations, chats, and content in a single platform.
Not only does this save time and enhance organizational efficiency, but it also facilitates the development of stronger relationships by keeping track of important details about influencers. Examples of such CRM include Grin, Creator.Co, Brandwatch Influencer Marketing software, LTK, Upfluence, and more.
In conclusion, 2023 has brought exciting and dynamic influencer marketing trends in the eCommerce industry.
As consumers increasingly trust influencers and seek authentic connections, the focus shifts towards micro- and nano-influencers who boost niche communities and higher engagement levels.
Cross-channel and platform collaborations also allow brands to reach wider audiences and tailor their messaging accordingly. Moreover, the rise of in-house brand ambassadors presents an opportunity for companies to leverage their own employees’ knowledge and passion.
By embracing these trends, despite the challenges that stricter regulations may bring, eCommerce brands can forge meaningful relationships, drive sales, and captivate their target audiences in the ever-evolving landscape of influencer marketing.
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