By Shelcy Joseph

From Instagram’s new shopping tools to the rise of TikTok, 2019 has brought big changes to influencer marketing. According to Business Insider, the industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022 with many more brands investing in the space. While challenges such as influencer fraud, disclosures and inauthenticity persist, brands are getting savvier about working with influencers and refining their strategies to leverage the space more effectively. 

Here at Billion Dollar Boy, we have worked with some of the leading brands along with thousands of the most talented content creators. As a new year begins, we are looking to the future and welcoming this new age of influence. So we rounded up our top five influencer marketing predictions that will shape 2020:

Less polished, more real content

Earlier in April, The Atlantic declared that the “Instagram aesthetic” is over. The highly curated feeds that have made the platform famous just don’t resonate anymore. Instead, influencers are increasingly embracing a less polished, unfiltered vibe that more closely matches real life. The move particularly resonates with teens who value candid self-expression above all, and we expect this trend to continue. It’s no surprise that TikTok, the video-sharing platform, was the third most downloaded app of 2019. It’s putting creativity and authenticity first, and is currently the fastest growing social network with a reported 500 million active users.

Brands investing more in TikTok:

We are preparing to see more brands working with creators on TikTok in 2020 as the attention and audience are certainly there. “The opportunity for brands to achieve widespread reach to young audiences in fresh fun ways is enormous” says our Founder and President Permele Doyle. Brands that have seen success on the app are running hashtag challenges and inviting users to interpret them in their own way. While tools are still being put in place to support sales, conversions and overall ecommerce on the app, now is a good time to experiment. 

More video and dynamic content

Instagram’s recent decision to start hiding likes in the U.S. has definitely shaken up the industry. The move will likely have a positive impact on the way we create content on the platform. For one, it will shift the focus away from vanity metrics such as likes in favor of more substantial indicators such as engagements (comments, shares, saves). Additionally, we believe it will raise the bar for creativity as users will be willing to take bigger creative risks. We are expecting to see more dynamic content and brand stories told more effectively as a result. Similarly, influencers are also experimenting with different content formats as Instagram continues to favor videos. We are seeing the return of YouTube and increased video ouput, a trend that is set to continue in 2020.

The rise of the niche influencer

A nano-influencer living in Columbus, Ohio, and blogging about sustainable fashion for a very engaged audience may, in some cases, yield better results for an eco-friendly brand looking to raise awareness in that area, than a macro-influencer with an international audience. As more content creators enter the space, brands are learning to leverage different groups of influencers to reach their marketing goals. As our Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Thomas Walters explained in an op-ed for WARC, “The niche influencer is in your neighbour with a beautiful home she’s super proud of, who’s started sharing her DIY hacks and bargains with her friends because she WANTS to – for brands, tapping into these super-engaged communities can be really fruitful.” We can expect to see more brands contracting a mix of influencers with different sized audiences for multi-layered campaigns. Niche influencers have the credibility and expertise that can not only translate into eventual sales, but also positively impact their audience’s perception of a brand. Regardless of following, they are key partners to keep in mind for partnerships.

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