Many brands leaned heavily into a promotion from industry influencers to push the sales of the products and gain awareness, but with the pandemic, the relationship between brands and influencers changed. In some respects, it accelerated industry trends and presented new opportunities, but in other ways, new challenges arose.
One industry influencer, Pierre-Loic Assay (the CEO of Traackr, an influencer marketing platform), addressed several topics relating to some of these relationship shifts, the effect on influencer marketing, which industries began to lean more into this practice, and what type of investment returns could be found from the formation of such new partnerships.
When the world first went into lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April of 2020, a great number of brands cut their losses, cutting their influencer relationships as cost-cutting measures. In May and June, however, some of those relationships began to spring back up, but the pace with which they came back depended greatly on the industry sector and the geographical location of the business. In either case, the brand and influencer relationships only moderately resembled those of the pre-pandemic era.
The Change of Content
Influencers always helped to drive brands’ sales by promoting a brand’s products but with the difficulty of product purchases during the pandemic, influencers and brands pivoted away from the promotion of products and focused on the promotion of the brand instead. This change of content necessitated the brands loosening much of the content control, something that allowed the influencers to have a far more creative say in the creative input they had in pushing the brands’ messaging.
Since the approach changed, the standards for measuring what a successful influencer campaign was in the past could no longer apply, necessitating the standards or what was considered successful had to shift as well. Of course, there is no one right success metric, so the measure of achievement fell somewhere in the middle of a success spectrum between the accurate portrayal of the brand’s purpose and values, with how these campaigns translated into actual e-commerce terms.
Influencers Gaining More Trust
Industries that have never truly relied on influencers before suddenly ended up leaning more into them. Several industries went from near zero influencer involvement to a significant leveraging of it. The two best examples of such industries are the consumer packaged goods industry and the gaming industry.
- CPG has made an especially dramatic turn in terms of influencer use, going from none at all, to adopting influencer marketing as their primary, core strategy.
- With the gaming industry, as the lockdown held more people home, the demand for video games exploded, and influencers became the tenets that carried the industry along through the early pandemic stages.
The Rise of Tiktok
While the world was in a dark place, TikTok served as a refreshing light and became the standout success story of the time by redirecting the focus to a more upbeat vibe that greatly focused on tapping into people’s creative outlets. This skyrocketed TikTok to the forefront of social media networks.
With social media platforms like Twitter and Twitch already serving as established participants in influencer marketing, and Facebook being the kind of the realm with their Instagram offering. With their brand new, uplifting approach, TikTok cemented its name as the leader in influencer marketing, however, and their rise will be an especially interesting one to observe moving forward.
The increase in social media platforms that help drive influencer marketing helps brands immensely by providing more options to promote their products. Our international agency network develops customised campaigns that achieve the greatest possible impact across all channels online and offline. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out.