More than 50 million users consider themselves influencers across the globe. With the ongoing pandemic, in-store purchases have nearly been diminished and what was a very skeptical platform previously, is now a driving method for marketing: Influencers. Companies endorse or sponsor influencers to promote their products and services to their viewers, or Influencer marketing. With influencer marketing on the rise, corporations are seeking to adapt to the dynamic evolutions in this industry. Therefore, we have compiled for you a list of the most impactful predictions for the years 2021 and 2022 along with the latest Instagram trends in the strongest influencer marketing platform, Instagram.
Instagram Trends and Influencer Marketing Predictions 2021-22
1. Influencer marketing boom
Influencer marketing has been receiving investments for a while now but it has never seen such a dramatic increase in capital over the years. To put it in numbers, the influencer marketing hub mentioned that in 2018 the net worth of influencer marketing was calculated to be $4.6 billion. It is estimated that in 2021 the total value of this industry will be worth $13.8 billion and is predicted to reach $15 billion by 2022 according to business insider. That is a total of 300% increase in 4 years. These numbers were especially affected due to the ongoing pandemic confining the world into their homes, having little to no choice other than shopping online.
The grand view research went further and calculated a CAGR of over 26% from 2019 to 2025, a testament to the effectiveness of influencer promotional campaigns.
Companies are now looking at Influencer recommenders or agents that suggest the best influencers for their campaigns. Shane Barker indicated that platforms such as Fourstarzz media provide in-depth information on influencers to marketers to help with their influencer’s search.
It is predicted that the years 2021 and 2022 are going to witness an even higher total net worth in the influencer marketing industry, and it is well worth considering investing in this driving mode of marketing for the future
2. Influencer houses
Marketers aim to sponsor or endorse the most engaging influencers for the best results. In turn, influencers come up with new ideas and techniques to pull in more and more viewers. One of the most successful methods is grouping under the same roof. Two of the most well-known names using this method are Jake Paul’s Team 10 and KSI’s, or JJ Olatunji, Sidemen group. Both these groups have their own homes where all or a majority of the influencers live together creating videos, sessions, and events. These groups have had staggering viewership not only for the group but for each individual creator themselves, as the viewers relate better with the influencers and have a sort of “Truman show” effect on them.
The popularity of Jake Paul’s group pushed him and his teams’ channels to a global scale, so much that just to watch his mark marriage, over 64000 viewers paid $50. That is more than $3.2 million to view an influencer’s event. The engagement level of Jake Paul with his viewers makes him a gold mine for brands to invest in.
The Sidemen by KSI are second to none. Reaching over 11 million subscribers in 5 years grabbing over 2.5 billion total views, and every single one of their videos so far has over a million views.
Companies and marketers should consider working with influencer groups and houses as the result is significantly more promising.
3. Mutual Influencer collaborations
Another brilliant idea by the creators is collabs /collaborations, an event a lot more common than influencer houses by now. Influencers collaborating among themselves or with celebrities gain increased popularity and engagement. Some of the best examples are let’s play gamers collabs (Pewdiepie, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye), tech collabs (Linus tech tips, iJustine), and even food collabs like Hot ones; owned by Complex Networks where celebrities are called in for a challenge to try a variety of increasingly spicy sauces on food. These collaborations have seen an increase in product sales and even merchandise sales for the influencers themselves.
Linus tech tips collaborated with iJustine to settle the ever-long dispute of Windows vs Mac; Mac came out victorious. Hot Ones has given their spicy sauce products immense popularity collaborating with celebrities like Scarlett Johannsson and Shaq O’Neal while providing links in their description to the hot sauces they use in the challenge. The owners of “Hot ones”, Complex Networks, said that they were well on track to make over $7 million in sales in 2018, and this is only from their hot sauce collections. In June of 2018, the network made 1000 bottles of their infamous sauces which were sold out in under an hour. Buyers then posted these bottles for sale on eBay as a collector’s product.
Influencer collaborations have seen equally great success, if not better, than influencer houses or groups. It is recommended that brands invest in this idea to help or shape their marketing strategies to promote their products in an unorthodox product trial method with live viewers for the coming years.
3. Video content is still the undefeated king (2022)
Marketing with video is still the number one choice for marketers. Cisco recently declared that by 2022 video content will dominate all online content by 82%. According to wyzowl’s research, videos used for marketing by businesses have increased by 41% since 2016, where 86% of Brands prefer marketing with videos.
Customers use videos as their judgment call on products online as 86% of consumers have reported being convinced to buy goods after watching videos of it. Videos are also the go-to methods by an overwhelming majority: 69% of the audiences have chosen short video guides or tutorials to learn more about a product or service, whereas 94% of customers already accustomed to their purchases have learned so from explanatory videos.
Companies and creators should continue creating video content as their main method of marketing or influence for the near future. It is predicted that 2022 will see a constant scaling in video entertainment and infotainment, even more so considering that videos have directly increased sales for 78% of the marketers in 2021; however, these numbers have dwindled by 2% since last year.
4. AR/VR Influencers
We have seen companies slowly turning back towards AR/VR midway through the pandemic. COVID has pushed online activities to their peak, and social gatherings have been forced out of the physical world into a virtual one. To help people get a more realistic feel of virtual meetings, VR has been refocused on delving its users into an artificial environment. One example is Facebook working on their Horizon project, a virtual reality world where people can have safe gatherings.
This is a great opportunity for marketers and influencers. Companies can showcase their products using VR worlds allowing more users to have a testing phase with their goods. Coca-Cola also used a brilliant way of using AR advertising in 2015. To introduce their new Coke Zero, Coca-Cola targeted everyone. Everyone was their audience; and they did this by creating an Advertisement that used the pouring sound of coke with Shazam, creating “drinkable” ad posters that allowed viewers to “drink” Coke Zero the posters from their phones. After completing the interaction viewers were given a code to redeem a free Coke Zero.
This is not something new, since the implementation of VR companies has tried to invent devices that provide results as close to reality as possible in virtual worlds; Radiant Vision Systems made a device in 2015 that showed the truest capabilities of display products in a virtual world. It would show a viewer the performance of the display almost identical to viewing it in real-time. Influencers can use VR worlds to help users try apps live, try on clothes, and make-up and see how they look and fit, and check the size of devices and electronics.
The possibilities are endless; Brands can create online shops where customers can simply enter and view their products, try them and then purchase them, or even help customers having troubles and issues with their products. Shopping giants such as Amazon have already been using AR to help buyers measure their products in their homes or spaces like sofas or tables.
Companies should consider focusing on influencers who use AR/VR worlds and keep in track with Social Platform giants like Facebook who are actively working on such projects as the following years should be witnessing a whole new level of marketing experience.
5. Stricter rules and regulations
Ever since Facebook, Google, TikTok, and many other social platforms were brought to trials to explain why they had breached the privacy of users, governing bodies have been implementing stricter rules and regulations on such apps and platforms.
Recently TikTok received huge criticism from Trump’s administration for failing to follow the rules and regulations of social apps and for possible threats to national security. Other countries like India and Pakistan also banned TikTok for national threat and illicit content respectively. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was also under fire for keeping and using the information on accounts that users had deleted, as well as sharing information users kept private.
Google themselves had been brought to court for illegally “listening in” on users and tracking their location without approval for personalized marketing data, giving users an illusion of control over their privacy.
Companies should expect to see stricter regulatory rules on marketing procedures using social platforms where user data is required. As personalization becomes more and more promising, marketers will need to collect additional data on their audience to provide the best content. Users will seek government bodies to implement harsher laws to safeguard their privacy.
- Annual contracted influencers
- Apps will become more brand-friendly like TikTok.
6. Increased UGC (User-Generated Content) pervasiveness
UGC (User-Generated Content) is content shared by users and not the brand itself on social platforms. An example of this sort of marketing is when Sony launched their Xperia Z2 model smartphone and implemented their Xperia Test Drive strategy to it, where it took UGC into implementation; the ROI was staggering.
This sort of marketing is nothing new albeit gaining steady demand. It provides products and services with greater credibility than Ad campaigns. Viewers have become skeptical of Advertisements which is one of the driving causes of influencer marketing and UGCs success. 84% of millennials hate the traditional means of advertising due to the lack of credibility; no one trusts a brand’s review of their products.
So what is better, UGC or Influencers? Generally speaking, both means of marketing have their strengths and weaknesses as it all boils down to credibility. Influencers with good credibility and trust rating have had equally strong, if not better, ROI. However, on products that haven’t seen trustworthy influencers, applying user-generated content marketing has a stronger impact. It is a gamble; if your product hits, people will take notice and they will be greatly inclined into making a purchase. A majority of the time, brands with medium to heavy user-generated content will see this means of marketing as a driving factor in making a purchase or not. UGC can also be an executioner for Brands whose product or service receives heavily negative reviews; it carries heavy risks.
In conclusion, Companies and influencers should include a thoroughly planned strategy for UGC marketing due to its consistent increment in popularity in the past and the coming future. If launched congruously, it can boost the ROI of a Brand with monumental outcomes and will continue to do so in the coming years.
7. Local targeting prevalence
Influencer marketing and social platforms continue to provide top priority to local audiences, those that are in the closest vicinity to the stores, outlets, and events: or proximity marketing. Local targeting influencer marketing selects influencers that are in a specified geographic location in which a Brand or Company desires to market its product. This geographic location usually covers an area of their store, event, or delivery reach so that the viewers are those that the Corporation can reach or vice versa.
The most common way to target local audiences is to geo-tag Content. Major platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to geo-tag their content which automatically targets an audience based on their location. This ensures good engagement rates as it excludes out viewers or audiences that are unable to make a purchase or appearance. Statistica shows that location-based marketing investment has seen a steady incline throughout the years, climbing from $12.4 billion to over double the value at $31.5 billion by 2022.
It is prevalent that local targeted marketing has a success factor in influencer marketing, Statista proves this with their forecast of future spending in this industry exceeding the $32 billion mark. Influencers and Brands should focus-where applicable-on prioritizing their locality for potential consumers.
8. Meme content Marketing
The meme has become a means of quick expression. From 4chan to gag sites like 9gag, meme content is used to entertain, tell a story, share feelings, express an emotion, voice an opinion, or even give advice. These days memes have become a very strong and powerful part of communication between youths and spread like wildfire.
The existence of Giphy in chat tools goes to show exactly how much memes are used today and their effectiveness in getting the attention of viewers. Youtuber kings like Pewdiepie, KSI, and Markiplier have a Reddit forum section for memes that they review in their videos, giving the best memes Reddit points and free merchandise.
This isn’t just limited to influencers, large corporations have also utilized memes effectively to push their marketing strategies. There is a good chance you are familiar with it; Netflix’s “Netflix and chill” meme. A popular meme used to have an intimate time with your partner while watching Netflix. They also took a screencap of Sandra Bullock in Bird Box and turned it into a meme that garnered publicity for it, resulting in a lot of people watching the movie. Other brands like Bark Box and Ruffles have also used memes as a tool to get more reach and engagement; their attempts have succeeded.
There is also a risk; misuse of memes or poorly thought strategies can backfire particularly due to the “flammability” of memes on the internet. McDonald’s tried to share a meme but used the wrong meme format, which quickly became a source of mockery for them. Wendy’s also used an improper meme format during a Twitter debate that quickly became counterproductive forcing them to take down the post.
Marketers should start using memes to promote their campaigns in artistic ways. Memes continue to have a strong connection with viewers, and if aptly utilized, they can provide a noteworthy ROI due to an almost negligible investment.
Podcasting has taken a sudden trend since many major Youtube influencers have started their podcasts. Logan Paul’s ‘Impulsive’, LinusTechTips’ ‘The WAN Show’, Joe Rogan’s ‘Experience’; Podcasting has been procuring steady popularity mainly due to its educational value. Semrush learned that 75% of podcast listeners tune in to learn new things. One of the driving causes of the flexibility of podcasts is that you can listen to them actively while working, just like music, seeing as the most popular time to listen to a podcast is between 10 a.m and 3 p.m. Content Fatigue has been affecting the internet viewership and many users just need to give their eyes a break from the screen.
The number of hours listened to podcasts has hit a historical margin in 2021, with a total of 15 billion hours in 2021; 3 billion hours more than it was listened to in 2019. That is the equivalent of a whopping 1.7 million years of listening time. Podcasts have seen an increase in ad revenue at over $900 million by the end of 2020, it is expected to cross the $1.5 billion mark by 2022.
These numbers have yet to see their peak as podcasting has still not come close to its potential. Forbes studied that 54% of listeners were willing to purchase after hearing an ad in a podcast. Times reported a total of $36 million in revenue, bumped up by $7 million in a single year.
Many other corporate giants are actively taking over successful podcasts: In July 2020 This American Life was purchased by The New York Times and SiriusXM took over SImplecast. Suzanne Grimes, EVP of Marketing at Cumulus Media says, “Brands love podcasting because audiences pay such intense attention and highly value the content. Hundreds of brand effect studies from Nielsen and Signal Hill Insights prove podcast advertising generates a significant lift in brand awareness, favorability, consideration, and purchase.”
Marketers should make podcast marketing their top priority as they have been generating mind-boggling income: iHeartMedia made $3.68 billion in 2019 and The National Radio made a little over $283 million in the same year. Direct response ads bore 54% of all podcasting revenue declaring it the most successful podcast advertising campaign. Coming in second place were brand awareness campaigns marking 42% of podcast revenue. are increasing, as eMarketer predicts podcasts will take 29% of digital audio ads by 2024.
10. Strategic posting
Many brands and influencers struggle to properly strategize their posts. Rule 1: never expect someone else’s strategy to work the same for you. A general “rule of thumb” that companies follow is the 5:3:2 ratio; In every 10 posts you make, 5 should be externally sourced, 3 are official posts, and 2 are entertainment ones. However, you must modify this rule further; in terms of the platform, audience, content, and purpose.
ContentStudio reports that post consistency triumphs over post frequency. The general idea is simple but usually overlooked-such as Quality over Quantity, goal orientation, organization, and categorization. Influencermarketinghub suggests the key to success with Influencer marketing in 2021: Target an audience for your brand, set goals relative to your business, find the influencers corresponding to your audience, communicate and coordinate with your influencers to adjust your Content Strategy, and perform CBAs (Content-Based Audits) & OBAs (opportunity-based Audits), Quality Assurance and Control, create campaigns with your influencers, graph the performance and results.
Marketing online is solidifying its presence progressively, and with it comes competition. 2021 and 2022 are going to mark the industry’s leading competitors, so whip out that whiteboard and create a solid strategy for your campaign to ensure you are ahead in the race.
11. Real relatable content demand
These days audiences prefer influencers to create relatable content and reduce filters and digital alterations to give it as close to a realistic appeal as possible. People continue to expose the numerous “photoshopped” or “edited” videos or pictures that are being shown to the general public of famous persons in hopes of ending a false sense of perfection. They have aptly succeeded as viewers have inclined and reacted more towards content that gave them a sort of approachable goals or relatable situations.
For instance, models on Instagram have begun to share how they take perfect pictures for Instagram that show an illusion of a dreamlike physique as well as behind-the-scenes images of their struggles and bad days. Makeup artists have also exposed their trade secrets of how their expertise in cosmetics application brings about an undetectable difference in the appearance of models and celebrities. Influencers on youtube have also created videos of their low times when they are either exhausted to the brim or have had an extremely rough day, viewers have shown them greater appreciation and sympathy.
Influencers and marketers should share relatable and original content that their audience can relate to or mark up towards if they want to follow in the same footsteps. 2021 and 2022 will be seeing more demand for relatable content that viewers view as achievable or believable.
12. Over 1.1 billion Insta users
As of January 2021, Instagram has attracted over 1.07 billion users; 71% of whom are under the age of 35, making it the fifth most popular social media platform. That is a little more than the combined population of America and all of Europe. One profile on Instagram has 22% of all Instagram users as followers: Cristiano Ronaldo. Marketers starting with influencer marketing should begin on Instagram as Oberlo indicated that 71% of businesses in the US use Instagram marketing.
Instagram is running strong as the best place to start with influencer marketing, its user base along with the net revenue continues to break previous records and it is well predicted to do so in the coming years. However marketers should be wary of fake accounts, it is no surprise that value of Instagram viewers will bring out fake accounts to exploit their worth. According to backlinks, more than 9.5% of Instagram users are fake bots; these bots can cost brands large sums of loss as they invest in influencers who manipulate engagement values with such bot accounts. With such a rise in users, botnets and fake accounts become a big risk for Instagram security.
13. Ephemeral content
Lengthy videos just don’t seem to cut it for people today. Everyone wants to get entertained or watch different things but doesn’t have enough time. TikTok gained a lot of fame mainly because viewers would see different content in short quick bursts of videos generating high engagement values. However, due to harsh criticism, marketers backed out of this platform. Observing the success of TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram started its Stories and Reels feature which gained steady popularity. Major platforms like Facebook and Youtube quickly caught on to this form of content and began introducing it themselves: Youtube began Shorts and Facebook started stories as well.
Granted this sort of content generates strong views and engagement but how do you market with this? Well, Influencers got creative; they started showing products used in these short videos for their purpose: kitchen utensils for cooking, clothes for outdoor activities and skits, tools for repairing, etc. With hundreds of millions in views and likes, and a continuous predicted rise in popularity for 2021-22, Influencer marketers should consider this field as an uncharted gold mine: unprecedented potential.
14. Instagram the Influencer basecamp
Instagram topped out as the largest influencer-based platform, with at least 2.3 million estimated influencers. Marketing charts report that 90% of Instagram’s 1.2 billion users follow at least 1 brand, making it the ideal platform for companies to attract customers and viewers.
According to Audience Project’s statistics on MarketingCharts, over one-third of social media users in the US use Instagram to follow companies or brands. Brands should keep Instagram influencer marketing as their first option for the coming years; eMarketer predicts that Instagram ad revenue will surpass the $15 billion mark this year and is expected to escalate further.
15. IGTV is still unpopular
It has been nearly three years since Instagram launched IGTV to compete with Youtube. Considering Instagram’s nearly 1 billion users in 2018, it was a good idea to try and attract users and influencer marketers to a video-based platform. The idea failed to lift off, with no more than 1% of its users having downloaded IGTV almost a year and a half after being introduced.
“Tepid because it’s unproven.” is what an agency executive described as the level of interest in IGTV by advertisers. Business apps also learned that almost 25% of the surveyed users reported IGTV to be a flop. Instagram removing the IGTV button made it worse, signaling users that the app is still in an “under construction” stage.
Although IGTV doesn’t seem to be trending anywhere soon, the upper echelons of the platform have assured users that it will explode later as it is still in its early stages. Marketers and influencers need to keep IGTV under strict observation since the owner of IGTV is the social platform king: Facebook.
16. Insta stories and reels demand
Two of the most popular Instagram trends this year are Instagram Stories and Reels. Launched in 2016 and 2019 respectively, these features have become heavily used and viewed on the app. With over 500 million daily users, Sproutsocial has reported that brands are behind 33% of the most viewed stories. The stories feature is used by 36% of businesses to promote their products, while 93% of US marketers that were surveyed have planned to increase their usage of stories.
Instagram Reels have also come strong. Just after the launch, the number of downloads of the app has increased by 11% in certain countries; this is followed by an increase of at least more than 3.5% average watch time around the globe. Their success is also phenomenal, some profiles like the NFL teams have reported an estimated 67% increase in engagement values with their Reels as opposed to regular video posts.
Influencer marketers should target these Insta trends for their skyrocketing performance, ensuring continuous Instagram growth in the coming years.
17. Instagram shops and shopping features
In response to the damage caused by the COVID pandemic to small businesses, Instagram introduced Insta shops and shopping features near the end of 2020 to aid these minor businessmen with increasing sales. This Instagram trend gives users a direct purchase option upon viewing the products on influencers’ and brands’ profiles.
Instagram further created additional e-commerce tools such as story stickers, shoppable posts, shopping from creators, live shopping, and Instagram checkout. Each feature provides a unique way with which users can make a purchase directly or via links.
This Insta trend is a great opportunity for businesses to turn their followers into customers. Marketers and influencers should adopt this new feature to produce strong conversion rates giving them powerful ROIs. This trend is still in its infant stage, predicted to become a big hit in the coming years.
Wasiq Naeem is a content and digital marketing veteran who is passionate about his writing. Extensive research and producing high-quality content is just another day at the office for him.