Influencer marketing has become a critical element of brand marketing. In 2021, NATIONAL conducted dozens of influencer marketing campaigns on behalf of our clients, working with more than 300 content creators across Canada.
What should savvy marketers expect in 2022? NATIONAL recently hosted our inaugural Influencer Marketing Summit to answer this very question—and brought in the leading minds working in this space in Canada for additional perspective.
Here are the 10 trends influencing influencer marketing in 2022:
1. Shifting from influencers to content creators
Celebrity-based campaigns have taken a back seat. Lately, we see brands leaning into a diverse roster of content creators. Partnering with creators allows brands to develop compelling content featuring real people communicating brand messages in an authentic way—engaging audiences and driving outcomes.
2. True strategic partnerships
Goodbye one-off campaigns. Hello long-term collaborations.
Creators want to partner with brands they believe in over longer periods of time, while brands want partners who align with their values and share their goals and long-term objectives. This involves spending more time (and budget) up front to know the creators you’re approaching, along with how they work and who they’re working with—this homework can make (or break) a campaign.
3. Go forth and amplify
With the shift to content creators, content quality has improved to a level that’s worth promoting. More brands are investing paid media dollars to amplify creator content.
This allows content to reach a broader audience than it otherwise would—and it’s working. Engagement rates on this content are typically 2 – 3 times higher than traditional social media ads.
4. Co-creation is key
When it comes to creating content, collaboration is critical. Brands provide the sandbox, but creators need room to create within the sandbox.
The most engaging campaigns think of the brand as the what and the creator as the why. They tap the creators’ unique truths and leverage their voice to tell a story incorporating brand messages seamlessly and authentically. If it feels forced, it will fail – and attract criticism.
5. Platform plurality and deeper integration beyond social
Creators are increasingly leveraging multiple platforms. We still love Instagram. But there are many other platforms to think about, such as Twitter and TikTok, and we’re starting to see more creators focus on their owned channels (blogs or websites).
Increasingly influencer campaigns are extending the creator’s role, featuring them in media interviews, events, and ad campaigns—a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
6. Measuring up: Evaluation sophistication
Historically, we assessed influencer campaigns using impressions and engagements, but measurement has evolved and will become even more advanced in the year ahead.
Through Traackr, for example, we have tools to help identify potential creators and a consistent Average Quality Score (AQS) to help evaluate them equally.
In addition, we’ve successfully tested leveraging Canadian creators to drive conversions through affiliate programs for some of our clients. Tying influencer marketing directly back to sales has demonstrated how these programs add to the bottom line. Lastly, we’ve started to measure the brand lift impact of creator content. We know word of mouth is still an important part of the mix, and now we’re proving it.
7. Influencer marketing goes mainstream
Influencer marketing is no longer the exclusive domain of consumer brands. Now, we are including creator marketing in programs for corporate, government and even pharma and healthcare clients too.
8. More video
Video is one of the fastest-growing media formats for consumers and digital marketers in Canada. The pandemic resulted in a huge surge in digital video consumption across all formats and social media is no exception. More video formats have been introduced across the social platforms and creators are increasingly comfortable with video production.
What does more video mean for campaigns? More engagement. Video is driving more and better engagement with audiences and will continue to grow in popularity within influencer campaigns.
9. The essential campaign ingredient is audience engagement
A mention is no longer enough; brands and creators want engagement. For example, this year we’ve seen a rise in creator content with an audience giveaways and contests, driving engagement and trial.
10. Purpose driven campaigns are on the rise
We’re seeing a more diverse roster of content creators who reflect a wide variety of experiences and perspectives in Canada. Moreover, they’re not just posting content—they’re doing good for society. In partnership with brands, creators are raising awareness for the social causes that matter most to them. These partnerships have significant impact and we’ll see purpose-driven partnerships continue in the year ahead.
Want to learn more about the trends and what the best minds in the business have to say about them? The Influencer Marketing Summit included an engaging panel discussion featuring Linda Hoang, Content Creator and Digital Strategist; Page Casmiro, Influencer Marketing Lead, TELUS; Neil Mohan, Creator Partner, Meta; Mimi Ngo, Creator Strategist, TikTok; Jennifer Bairos-Hofer, Head of Marketing, Twitter; Kayla Quock, Director of Content Marketing, Traacker; with Gillian Smith, Managing Partner, NATIONAL Toronto, moderating.
——— Christian Khan is a former Director, Digital at NATIONAL Public Relations