Influencer marketing has come a long way in the last several years. According to a study conducted by Linqia, 39% of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing budget. The study also showed that a majority of marketers will spend anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 on influencer marketing.
One of the influencer marketing trends that I see coming in 2019 is that companies will take more risks when selecting the influencers that they partner with. Instead of always choosing the “safe” option, brands will partner with more controversial influencers, who often have the highest engagement rates.
I also see the definition of “influencer” changing. What used to be a name for creators that started in their bedrooms, with zero followers, will now also include mainstream celebrities, like Will Smith, who are creating content for Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels.
Finally, I think that more influencers will diversify and focus on growing their own brands, instead of relying solely on brand deals to support themselves.
I wanted to see what others thought about the future of influencer marketing, so I reached out to the top influencers, managers and industry insiders to see what trends they saw coming in 2019. Here’s what they had to say:
Sssniperwolf: Creator with 21 million followers on social media– I think for 2019 we will see brands start to look more towards longer term partnerships with influencers, as opposed to just one offs, as they start to see the long-term value of being able to tell an authentic and consistent story to an influencers’ audience over time. Also, brands are finding it is more effective to promote over social media than traditional media.
Wengie: Creator with 15 million followers on social media- Brand are now more open to creative collaboration with influencers and it’s a nice change. The one trend I’ve been seeing is brands have been including social media integration as part of an overall bigger campaign launch, whereas last year they were more likely to be working on social media in a silo. I love the direction this is heading!
Tess Finkle: Entrepreneur and CEO of Metro PR-The word “influencer” is no longer automatically connected to a personality that went from “relatively unknown” to “highly visible” by posting signature content to a specific social media platform. 2018 leveled the playing field for all persons with a large, highly engaged audience across any medium to identify as an “influencer.” Artists from the music industry, sports, comedy, film and TV are either receiving outside investment to grow their social presence or finally seeing the value of self-funding, and are now ultimately positioned as influencers in conversations amongst brands looking at their digital spends. 2019 will continue to lean into this shift.
Tana Mongeau: Creator with 8 million followers on social media-It has been a very interesting year for me, brand-wise. I expected my wild, controversial image in the media to be off putting to big names but it was the exact opposite. Bigger corporations, like MTV, Billboard, even Poshmark, wanting to work with me initially came as a giant shock because I’m not traditionally what you would call “brand-safe.” However, seeing them branch out from traditional choices was incredible to me. Seeing bigger brands working with edgier choices like Shane Dawson, Bhad Bhabie, Emma Chamberlain or Bella Thorne is a big statement for the industry. For these bigger companies to realize that they’re giving the consumer a more authentic, raw opinion is commendable in my eyes. I’m excited to see how the space continues to evolve in 2019. I personally can’t wait to see Shane Dawson’s face on a Hidden Valley Ranch bottle!
Anwar Jiwabi: Creator with 10 million followers on social media– Anytime I have the opportunity to create a brand deal video, I want to make sure that the content is enjoyable, while also presenting a product that I believe in. If the content isn’t funny, or if it feels like a 100% scripted ad, then viewers aren’t going to pick that up. I did a video with Steph Curry, for Brita, and it was very organic and fun. In my mind, I’m creating a regular video with a product instead of creating an ad.
Nikki Bella: WWE superstar, star of Total Bellas, and cofounder of Birdie Bee and Belle Radici- I love the creative avenue that brands are giving me when I construct a post. I tend to be more of a lifestyle influencer, so I’m thinking about the outfit that I’m wearing and the setting, along with whether the product needs to be paired with a glass of wine or a coffee. It makes the brand authentic to me in my life. I have always been drawn to ambience and environment. Having that creativity allows me to connect with so many followers from different cultures. And it’s helped my companies, like Birdiebee, and Belle Radici, become successful. I think that’s what we all crave most online; it’s all about connection. And it’s that authentic connection that is so important when you are selling directly to your customer.
Lisa Filipelli: Partner Select Management Group- In 2019, we will start to see an even deeper convergence of talent across all platforms. The digital space changes rapidly and, in 2018, we saw the winding down of the MCN and the rise of talent-owned businesses. Talent, who own their audiences, will be at the forefront of the coming year. Talent will also start to expand their reach across all platforms, which will be especially noteworthy as more linear companies refine the way they work with that talent. This, along with the continued investment from brands, will make the intersection of digital and traditional stronger and more seamless than ever.
Ryan Wyatt: Global Head Of Gaming At YouTube- YouTube has a passionate community of gamers and creators who’ve turned YouTube into the gaming platform it is today. YouTube just had its biggest year ever in gaming, with over 50 billion hours of gaming content watched and 200 million logged in users watching gaming content every single day on YouTube. From creators like elrubiusOMG hitting live gaming records, to Ninja ushering in the era of Fortnite, we’ve seen gaming creators engage with audiences and brands, while remaining authentic to their own voice in all new ways. We believe our creators should have more ways and more opportunities to make money while on YouTube, that’s why we’re investing in new features like Super Chat, Channel Memberships and Merchandising. We’re looking forward to seeing the gaming community on YouTube continue to strengthen in 2019.
Evan Asano: CEO and Founder of MediaKix – In terms of shifts in the industry, we’re still seeing strong growth in the space. With the growth of Instagram Stories, we’re seeing a lot of brand interest in Instagram because of the variety of sponsorship options: micro-influencers, in feed posts, Instagram video and Instagram Stories. The industry has really matured over the last couple of years. One important need in the industry is standardization for terminology, contracts, etc.
John Shahidi: Creative Director At Shots Studios– More companies, especially major ones, want to team up with top creators because it’s the best way to reach a wide and specific audience. There’s an amazing trust, especially with long-term partnerships, where brands are allowing creators to tell their own story, while showcasing the product in a fun and authentic way.
Romeo Lacoste: Celebrity tattoo artist, YouTuber and entrepreneur with over 4 million followers on social media– The trick is to be ahead of the trends. I’ve always been a trendsetter. I was the first tattoo artist to really be a personality on Instagram. Then, after others followed, I moved to YouTube. The key is to not be late and behind everyone else. There are no benefits to catching the tail end. The brands that are the most successful are the ones being innovative and leading the way. You have to be the first to do it, or else you’re last.
Jordan Worona: CEO of We Are Verified- Influencers will continue building their own consumer brands and flexing their reach. Advertisers will enhance their understanding of what makes a successful campaign and, more importantly, which influencers make for a successful campaign. The gap in power between big and small influencers will grow.
Mickey Taylor: Cofounder of Adweak Studio– I think influencers aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, they’ve been around for a very long time only we used to call them “celebrity endorsers.” If the influencer is believable, has a real audience and talks about things that are relevant to who they are, then people will buy it. I’ll listen to LeBron James if he’s talking about athletic apparel, nutrition, fitness, etc. I’m not going to listen to him if he’s talking about Brawny paper towels in an Instagram post.