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Mae Karwowski CEO & Founder Obviously

Top 5 Influencer Marketing Trends for Brands in 2019

By now, everyone’s heard the buzzword that’s no longer a buzzword - influencer marketing is here to stay. The industry is growing at breathtaking speed, with estimates that spending on influencer marketing could reach between $5 to $10 billion by 2022. From the fashion and beauty industries that first embraced influencer marketing to newcomers to such as automotive and real estate, brands across the board are putting together bigger and bolder influencer marketing plans for 2019.

Whether your brand has an established network of influencers or if you’re just getting started, here are the top 5 things you need to know to maximize your influencer marketing program this year.

1. Nano- and microinfluencers are the new masters of word of mouth.

At times, the industry can feel as fast-paced as your Instagram feed. But the best influencer marketing campaigns are well-planned and strategic, designed to connect brands with influencers and customers for the long haul.

That’s where nano- and microinfluencers are going to be fundamental to your brand. Nanoinfluencers are those with between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, while microinfluencers are those with between 5,000-100,000 followers. At this scale, influencers are passionate and excited to partner with brands they love They’re also authentic, with tight-knit communities of followers that trust their recommendations, and their own personal success lives and dies on creating high-quality content. If you work with nano- and micoinfluencers over time, this powerful combination means they will be some of the best brand ambassadors you could ask for.

And at this level, you can work with hundreds of influencers with thousands of followers each, who are all posting and reposting to their own social communities about your brand. If influencer marketing is the new word of mouth marketing, then these influencers are the ideal messengers.

2. Prices could drop for celebrity influencers.

We all learned from the Snapchat and Luka Sabbat fallout last year. That was just one indication, though a major one, that influencer marketing is maturing. It’s no longer about paying an outrageous fee to a celebrity (also known as a macroinfluencer) with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers to post once or twice and call it a day - it’s about return on investment and an iron-clad contract to enforce it. So in 2019, we forecast a couple of things will happen. First, expect to see rate cards for macroinfluencers drop if they fail to show results. Second, brands are going to focus more on finding and working with influencers that are right for them. These are further indications that brands and influencers alike are becoming savvier in negotiating the industry waters, and a great thing from where we sit.

3. We’ve passed peak unboxing season.

In our focus groups, we heard this message loud and clear from influencers: it’s egregiously wasteful to receive a giant, TV-sized box that contains - wait for it - exactly three lipsticks inside. Yes, influencers can create some fun materials from a whimsical or creative unboxing experience when they receive a gift from a brand. But in this day and age, bigger is not better, and that sensibility will characterize packaging in the year to come. Brands and influencers alike are better served when the emphasis is on ensuring there’s a great contract and interesting new products in play - not an oversized, multi-layered box to open.

4. Brands are going to start relying on influencers for other advertising needs.

We’re already seeing brands and influencers working together outside of social platforms on things like photoshoots, billboards, and videos. In the coming year, we expect to see brands start to rely more heavily on influencers to create cost-effective content that’s used across channels. Influencers will start to power not just the brand’s Instagram account, but also elements like product photos and in-store creative displays. Influencers doubling as models, photographers, and creative directors will be a new norm.

5. Instagram and YouTube will still rule the roost.

Finally, the platforms your brand will work with in 2019 probably won’t change much. Instagram and YouTube are still the clear front runners for influencer marketing for a number of reasons, and will remain so in the foreseeable future. But don’t get caught flat-footed on a platform attracting droves of younger audiences - Twitch might very well gain ground in some verticals. Once mostly for gamers, Twitch is taking steps to expand its user base. Late in 2018, they launched ten new channels to cover non-gaming videos, including cooking shows, crafts, podcasts, beauty tutorials, and more. Another standout feature of Twitch is the number of opportunities there are for partners to earn money, which incentivizes influencers to consider it - meaning you should keep an eye on it too.

Mae Karwowski is the Founder and CEO of Obviously, a leading full-service influencer marketing agency and tech platform.