The influencer marketing industry continues to move brands forward at a rapid pace, and platforms, audiences, and new trends are changing faster than ever. Gen Z is setting the tone for our digital world by calling on brands to be responsible and leading the charge by putting pressure on their peers, their creators and their brands.
The creator economy isn’t going anywhere, and as we see 2023 approaching in the not-too-distant future, here are four key trend predictions for the influencer marketing landscape for the second half of the year.
1.) No-Follow Creators are the Next Big Thing
User Generated Content (UGC) – i.e. all images, text, videos, reviews, etc. created by an individual user and not by a brand – in marketing is nothing new; brands and marketers have understood the power of content sharing by “real people” for years now. This is one of the main reasons influencer marketing is so successful. In its early days, many users were perfectly happy to allow a brand to repost their content to their feeds without any form of compensation.
Or worse, brands would take the liberty of reposting public content without asking and only giving credit to the user if they were lucky. But in 2022, users without an audience is quickly beginning to recognize the power and great need of brands for constantly new, high-quality UGC. Users have started charging for personalized content that meets brands’ needs, without even providing an audience.
There is an emerging trend for brands to hire content creators with little or no online following to create organic value-for-hire content to post exclusively on branded channels without the creator needing to post on its own flow. Similarly, more brands engaging influencers are including the use of brand-exclusive content (again, not to be posted on influencer feeds) as part of traditional influencer marketing campaign deliverables, in recognition of the need for a high volume of content.
The trend has become a major topic of conversation on TikTok lately, with over 9.6 million videos under the #usergeneratedcontent hashtag at the time of writing. Users share their favorite UGC creator tips, tricks, and marketplaces with each other and empower those who never imagined themselves as traditional influencers to embrace the life of content creation as a way to generate income.
Expect this new wave of UGC to grow exponentially in the second half of 2022 and there will be a greater distinction between who is an “influencer” and who is a “content creator”. The two can co-exist and thrive together, and some of the most powerful users brands can engage with online really are both. Ultimately, anything that deepens the culture-wide conversation about which brands should pay for content from digital creators is a very good thing.
2.) Unnecessary giveaways are “trash” and brands need to adjust their approach
We are seeing a significant increase in the number of online creators becoming aware of how PR giveaways can have a negative impact on the environment. More than ever, creators are calling out to PR companies and brands that send out gifted products in excessive, non-recyclable packaging or send out products they simply don’t need without announcing them. In a video with over a million views at the time of writing, TikToker @Nikoosh96 shared how she lives in an apartment building with an influencer who receives a huge volume of PR freebies that constantly end up in their trash. Nikki and the commenters on her video discuss how upsetting it is to see so much product on its way to a landfill, and how excessive, littering influence giveaways shouldn’t be normalized.
In a now-deleted video, TikTok user @bran_flakezz recently shared how a skincare brand reached out to him, offering to send him a bunch of products from their line. Acknowledging that he already had a surplus of skincare products, he replied that he was grateful to them for reaching out, but that he didn’t need skincare and it would be wasteful for them to send. He shared that he needed shampoo and asked if they had any new hair care products he could try instead. The brand responded quickly and positively, sharing that they were happy to send something they really needed so they didn’t contribute to waste – which sparked positive sentiment for Brandon and the brand in the comments.
Brands need to adjust their approach to giveaways and go the extra mile to connect with creators before sending out mass mailings of items they might not want or use. The consideration of waste reduction goes a long way given our current climate (literally and figuratively). In a study by Meta, 69% of respondents worldwide believe that brands should care about the environment and provide sustainable products to consumers.
There’s a delicate balance for influencers to strike – at the risk of appearing “ungrateful” or tarnishing a relationship with a brand that may offer a lucrative deal in the future, it takes courage to get opinions about brands out there. who are wrong in 2022. Ultimately, however, this new trend of influencers speaking out may drive change.
3.) A niche influencer is the new lifestyle influencer
In the second half of 2022, we expect the most successful influencers to emerge from hyper-specific niches. We’ve tasted it before (consider the rapid catapult to fame of trainspotter Francis Bourgeois and the wild success of cleaning educators @GoCleanCo) and don’t see the trend going anywhere; we expect it to become the new standard. With over 50 million people worldwide classified as content creators, influencers need to stand out in a saturated market.
While creators can become famous around a single topic, brands shouldn’t count them if there isn’t an immediate obvious connection to their product. For example, London-based content creator Mesha Moinirad (otherwise known as @MrColitisCrohns) has grown his community as an advocate for ostomy and IBD patients and as an official IBD Society Ambassador. supply of Coloplast Charter ostomy bags. Now he is also a sponsored content partner for brands such as Paramount Plus UK among others.
Partnering with a niche influencer can allow brands to tap into new, highly engaged audiences centered on a niche community with broader interests as diverse as the world around us. Some rising niches we’re seeing in the world of influencers? Literature, comedy, disability advocacy, poetry and creative writing, and digital artists, to name a few.
4.) Welcome to the Metaverse
It’s impossible to go online without seeing discussions about the Metaverse and Web 3.0 these days. Despite consumer resistance or hesitation, the Pew Research Center explains how the Metaverse will be “an evolutionary leap” into cyberspace as we know it. We believe influencers will be the ones to usher us into a new online world – and they already are.
We expect to see an increase in collaborations between influencers and brands to launch digital products, such as co-branded NFTs offering audiences collectible content and exclusive artwork. Brands like Gucci, Kendra Scott and Burger King have already dipped their toes into the NFT world as an extension of their marketing efforts, and we expect this to trickle down to brands’ global influencer marketing initiatives as well. .
Visual artist Sophie Tea (who rose to fame and fortune exclusively through her viral Instagram presence) made waves earlier this year when she sold her first NFT – a scan of her own naked body – which was meant to be a numerical extension of her. body positive female empowerment physical art collection Nudes which has earned him fame online.
Moreover, it seems that all social media and online messaging platforms now offer users the possibility to create their own avatars to represent their character in a digital format. TikTok is one of the newer platforms to do so, and to ensure the feature is inclusive and representative of their community, relies on their Creator Diversity Collective (a cohort of creators” that brings together people from different backgrounds to help ensure diversity, inclusion and representation in our programs and on [the] Platform”).
We expect influencers and creators to guide their audiences into a more deeply digital world and be consulted by brands that feel the need to foray on a much larger scale in the second half of 2022 and beyond. .