Due to the popularity of 2021’s Influencer Marketing Trends Predictions blog post that I wrote, I thought I would sit down and write another for 2022.
The world of influencer marketing is ever growing and expanding and in 2022, I don’t think this will be any different.
With the metaverse, NFTs and AI on the rise, I expect to see some huge changes in influencer marketing and the marketing space this year, and if we don’t adapt and learn about these things before they arrive, we’re going to have some serious catching up to do.
So, without further ado, here are the 17 trends I predict to happen within influencer marketing in 2022.
1. TikTok will keep rising
As a platform, TikTok will continue its dominance in the social media market, gaining new users and surpassing other social platforms records like Instagram and Twitter. More and more people will be using the app, creating content and consuming content.
In 2021, we saw that TikTok was the most-visited website, overtaking Google. If that doesn’t give you the nudge to join TikTok, I don’t know what will.
2. More paid spend on TikTok
Influencer marketing budgets will pivot away from Instagram and Facebook (Meta) and instead turn to TikTok.
TikTok creators can be more creative with their content, can gain larger organic reach and views and can create a stronger message/ad than a static Instagram post.
Brands will be putting money behind TikTok Spark Ads and Custom Ads, boosting creators content and working with smaller influencers to do this, to gain a larger return on ad spend.
All eyes are on TikTok at the moment, which is where your advertising needs to be.
3. TikTok will create a way of adding links into organic content
One of the biggest things missing with TikToks posted organically is that influencers can’t include links within the content.
The only way they can do this is through the link in their bio, or if a brand was to boost the content or create their own custom ad.
On TikTok, it may be more worthwhile for brands to include a discount code with an influencer as the influencer can add this to the video and to their caption.
4. TikTok creators will put more money behind their own videos
We’re already starting to see this, but TikTok users are seeing a large drop in organic views. Often when you go through an influencer’s account with a fine tooth comb, you’ll notice that some of their views are inflated and this is usually due to putting spend behind their content. Or if the video is an ad, a brand may have boosted the TikTok video for them.
It’s going to get to a stage where as a viewer, we don’t know if a video is on our screen because of the algorithm, or if TikTok has been paid to put it there. With Spark Ads, it’s hard to tell.
This might be something the ASA will need to consider if there is no declaration of ad within the caption.
5. Brands will spend more money on TikTok
Boosting videos on TikTok has never been easier and brands are seeing a huge uplift with this in comparison to Instagram and Facebook.
TikTok are very clever with their Top View Ad which is the ad you see as soon as you open the TikTok app, which changes every day. It’s something that Instagram doesn’t have yet, but probably will in the future.
Creating a Top View Ad will ensure that every person that opens TikTok on that specific day will be met with your advertisement. Even better if you work with a well-known TikTok creator to make the ad, as users may think that they are opening to a normal video on their feed and spend more time watching and engaging with it.
6. Snapchat isn’t going anywhere yet
I thought Snapchat was dead because I don’t use it. Like Kylie Jenner, I thought the app was long gone and everyone had moved onto Instagram and TikTok.
Apparently Snapchat is still very much alive and well among Gen Z as this is where they often communicate with their friends. And if brands think that Snapchat is dead, you’re going to have less competition in the ad space on Snapchat and want to take advantage of it, especially if you’re aiming towards a Gen Z/young audience.
Snapchat isn’t going anywhere for the moment, and if your customer base is below the age of 24, this is where you might want to spend some of your advertising budget.
7. Instagram will need to make big changes
Instagram have openly said that they are gearing towards a more video-friendly app, giving the impression that the static photo is a thing of the past.
We all know the Instagram algorithm is shocking, especially for standard grid posting. However, they do seem to be pushing out Reels a lot more, and I’ve noticed myself from a standard user’s point of view that my Instagram Reels are seen by 1000% more people than my Instagram photos, and it’s turning out to be the only way to grow an audience on the platform.
Instagram are constantly copying TikTok, but they will need to differentiate themselves if they want to make sure their users are spending more time on their app than their rival, TikTok’s.
8. Instagram will become more like Pinterest
Personally, I mostly use Instagram for inspiration. Clothing inspiration, travel inspiration, fitness and food inspiration and for keeping up with my favourite influencers on their stories.
Instagram needs to improve the search functionality of the app and have a better Saved section, where I can create mood boards like on Pinterest.
I would almost get rid of the home page, make it more like Pinterest or even the Explore page where you can see 2-3 images across the screen at a time, and select any that catch your eye.
From this, Instagram can become the shopping app that it’s always wanted to be and have links included in the images directing the user straight to sale.
9. Companies will need their own influencers/ambassadors
We’ve heard about the mass exodus that happened this year and last, with employees thinking about what they really value in the workplace. Employees are really considering whether their job is the right fit for them and if it’s not, they’re straight out the door with no looking back.
Companies now need their employees to step up and be advocates for the place they work via LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, shouting about what a great place it is to work, the perks and why other people should consider joining the company.
Most companies are crying out for new workers today and the only people that can really sell your company as a great place to work are the people that already work there.
10. YouTube will go back to its roots
In my humble opinion, long form content isn’t dead. When I go to YouTube, I’m looking for a 10-30 minute video to watch while I’m cycling on the bike in the gym, on the treadmill or eating my lunch.
I’m not coming to YouTube to watch a 10 second video, as that’s what I would go to TikTok for. YouTube should own what they are known for and look at making the platform a better experience for users and creators.
The YouTube platform hasn’t changed much visually in the last 10 years, and should be spending their Creators package working with their biggest creators and those that are up and coming, to improve the website overall in terms of long-form content.
11. More protection for younger influencers
If you go into any school today and ask kids what they want to be when they’re older, they’ll tell you that they want to be an influencer or a vlogger. They want to be famous on social media and make money doing crazy things on the internet. You can buy kids vlogger kits in toy stores now.
With this, younger and younger kids are joining TikTok, are putting themselves out there on social media and because of that, being objected to hate, trolls and comments from strangers on the internet telling them negative things about themselves.
Instagram have recently had to testify in court about the relation between social media and negative mental health. The younger these influencers are with millions of followers, the more sensitive they are going to be to hateful comments and trolling.
If Instagram can so easily detect from posts and Stories when Covid is mentioned, why can’t they audit comments for hate messages – especially when the user is under 18. And that goes for other social media platforms too.
12. The ASA will regulate rule breaking and ad disclosure better
At the moment, I think it’s confusing for influencers, brands and marketers when it comes to disclosing ads on social media.
Influencers are able to use #ad, ‘ad’, ‘sponsored’ or #gifted in their captions to signify when money or free products have been exchanged for a post. However, there is a new feature on Instagram in particular that allows you to add a Paid Partnership toggle and tag the brand. With this toggle applied, does this mean there is no need for the #ad in the caption? I don’t know.
To me, it comes across a little misleading, even though the paid partnership toggle is there at the top of the image, I still think the caption needs to have the word ‘ad’ included, just to make sure the declaration is clear.
What we really need from the ASA and ad regulation agencies is a one-pager of ‘how to declare an ad on social media’ and showcase for each social media app out there and the formats in which an ad can be posted.
Having the information in one document that would be posted to brands, agents, influencers and available online for free would be a great educational tool for those posting and paying for ads on social media.
13. More education for influencers
We talk about influencer marketing all the time and how we can make it better, regulate ads better, see a better return on our investment, how we can get better content from influencers, how we can find the best influencers and how we can capitalise on them.
For the most part, a lot of brands capitalise a lot on influencers not being well educated on the influencer marketing world. Influencers without agents that have almost gained a following overnight won’t know what they should and shouldn’t be signing in a contract, don’t know how much they should be charging for their content and the usage of that content and don’t really know what they should push back on or how to create ad-worthy content.
To have a better industry as a whole, we need to help our influencers be more clued up on working with brands and making ads. Some of our influencers are very young and have no idea about the advertising industry.
They might not know how much they should charge for their content, they might not know what intellectual property is, they might not understand the usage you are negotiating with them, what putting paid spend behind their content might mean for them.
It’s not fair on them, and it’s not morally sound as a marketer to capitalise on an influencer’s naïveté.
14. Influencers will enter the metaverse
Something I need to do a lot more research on, but we can’t omit talking about the metaverse from this list. We’ve spoken before about virtual influencers, and who better to enter the metaverse right away than AI-created influencers.
The metaverse poses the question – will influencers be popular in the metaverse? Will we see a new form of influencer in the metaverse? Will brands need to create their own virtual influencer specifically for the metaverse? And how will the metaverse affect influencer marketing?
15. There will be more virtual influencers, but real influencers will still come out on top
There are many pros and cons when it comes to having a virtual influencer for your brand – one major pro is that you control the narrative that they put out. However, the major con of virtual influencers is that they aren’t real people and can’t form a real connection and give a real recommendation for a product since they can’t physically use or test the product.
No matter how virtual a world we become, as humans, we will still crave human interaction and following real people.
Virtual influencers may be on the rise with the growing popularity of the metaverse, but real-life influencers will still be more relatable and will always have that power over virtual influencers.
16. Brands will be more conscious than ever
With advertising on social media or any influencer marketing campaigns, brands have to be super conscious of their messaging and of their content. Take the Chanel advent calendar for example.
Consumers aren’t shy at telling brands what they think and if they think something isn’t worth the money, they’ll let you and the rest of the world know.
If a campaign isn’t diverse enough, the public will shout about it and let you know in the comments.
If you send out PR packages with an obscene amount of packing and waste, influencers will let you and the public know about it.
With every campaign, you have to think, what could go wrong with this? What could people complain about, what have we missed?
17. Audio will continue to grow but Club House is dead
Everyone and their aunt has a podcast (me included, you can listen to it here) and I can only see this form of content going from strength to strength.
I wouldn’t include it as a huge advertising stream for influencers, although they can have sponsors and talk about them at the start of the episode, but in general, it seems more that podcasts are a way of influencers getting closer to their audiences and speaking to them without having to put on a face for the camera.
Perhaps podcasts allow influencers to speak their truth since their face isn’t on show and they know that their listeners will be their fans.
Spaces on Twitter is also seeing a rise in popularity and Twitter are constantly navigating this new feature with many updates.
One thing that I think won’t be making a return any time soon is Club House. That was short and sweet while it lasted.
And there we have it. 17 influencer marketing trends I expect to see in 2022. Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed any or if you disagree.