The COVID-19 pandemic has created a whole new world. Before the pandemic began, the thought of something sweeping across the planet and shutting down nations would’ve seemed a far-fetched impossibility. Now, two years into the pandemic, it is an everyday reality, and it doesn’t appear poised to go away any time soon. With COVID, businesses across industries have had to completely shift their practices, with mixed results.
In-person businesses like bars and restaurants have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic burden, as have small businesses. But some companies and industries have managed to pivot successfully to make the most out of an extremely difficult circumstance. One industry that has emerged from the pandemic mostly unscathed is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a form of advertising based on virtual partnerships. Brands connect with influencers who have connected with an audience, and the influencers’ platforms help the businesses generate sales and brand awareness. This model wasn’t disrupted by the pandemic, although there are some far-reaching consequences the influencer marketing industry has been impacted by. Let’s explore some of the different ways that COVID-19 has changed the influencer marketing industry.
Showcased Value of No Contact Marketing
If there’s one major impact the pandemic has had, it is that there is a rapid increase of hesitancy and inability when it comes to coming into contact with another human being. COVID-19 is an airborne virus transmitted through breath and saliva. Even with masks on, you don’t want to come close to someone infected in an indoor environment. Because of this, people are steering away from unnecessary in-person interactions.
This is true in marketing. Many forms of marketing require studio spaces or in-person interaction. In a pandemic, this is an unnecessary risk and liability. Influencer marketing requires absolutely no face-to-face contact. Brands or influencer marketing firms can contact influencers and set up partnerships without meeting in person.
Even for influencer gifting, when influencers make posts in exchange for product, no physical contact is ever required. In a world where massive numbers of people were in lockdown or unwilling to meet with strangers, influencer marketing stood out as an option that needed no contact. This gave it a major leg up over alternatives.
Massive Increase in eCommerce Sales
This change heavily aligns with the first one. If people are scared to go outside and interact with others, one thing will take priority when it comes to shopping. That is convenience. No form of shopping is more convenient and accessible than eCommerce and shopping online. In the modern marketplace, with only a few clicks, you can access everything from furniture and groceries to clothing and make-up.
According to the United Nations, eCommerce saw a massive global rise in 2020, jumping from 16% of retail sales to 19%. Countries worldwide saw a significant rise in the market share of online shopping, as stores were closed and citizens were nervous about making excursions. This only served to benefit influencer marketing. If you want to reach people that aren’t leaving their homes, to get them to buy products from the internet, marketing to them on the internet makes the most sense.
Influencer marketing is deeply tied into eCommerce, and since eCommerce is a growing industry already worth trillions, that bodes well for influencer marketing. eCommerce products are sold through websites and social media, and influencer marketing is an impactful way to direct attention to eCommerce brands. With a growing number of people now prioritizing online shopping, this is a positive change for influencer marketing.
Proven Future Viability
When you think of the marketing tactics that will come to define the next decade, what do you think of? Is it newspaper or T.V ads? Probably not. Marketing through social media is now arguably the biggest medium to reach consumers, and influencer marketing is an integral part of this process. The impact of the pandemic is lingering and as unfortunate as it sounds, there appears to be no clear end in sight. That means that the future of marketing will be dictated by contactless advertising outreach that successfully generates eCommerce sales.
Influencer marketing fits this bill in every sense. It doesn’t require any in-person interaction or communication and can be done anywhere. It directs traffic to websites and is proven to generate sales. The growth of the influencer marketing industry has been astounding thus far. It has risen from an afterthought for most marketers in 2016, with a global market size of $1.7 billion, to a juggernaut worth $13.8 billion in 2021, according to Statista.
In a post-COVID world, many of the habits we’ve developed over these two years will remain. Everything from Zoom to an increase in online shopping reflects that society will become increasingly digitalized. A marketing form that succeeds at reaching millennial and Gen-Z audiences and is entirely internet-based is a marketing form built for the future. Influencer marketing is this marketing form.
If you’re looking to start your influencer marketing outreach, partnering with a top influencer marketing agency makes a lot of sense. Influence Hunter is an agency that has helped clients in a huge range of industries create campaigns that deliver results. With a team of experienced social media experts working hand-in-hand with you to develop customizable campaigns that boost sales and brand awareness, Influence Hunter is a team that can help you launch your marketing into the stratosphere. To learn more about what we can do for your business, get in touch with us today.