Four Trends Shaping the Future of Influencer Marketing

Flat design illustration with female vlogger or influencer, recording new video.

By Catherine Bormann

In the last decade influencer marketing has shifted from an experimental tactic for many brands into a primary social media strategy. With over 80% of marketers setting aside specific budgets for influencer partnerships, brands need to produce influencer content that captures consumers’ attention and halts their doom scrolling. 

Despite budget cuts amid economic uncertainty, two-thirds of marketers plan to increase their influencer spend in 2024. This trend indicates that brands recognize influencers’ unique ability to engage with audiences, similar to how  a trusted recommendation from a friend impacts purchasing decisions. When executed authentically, these partnerships can greatly enhance the impact of a brand’s storytelling efforts.

Here are four ways brands can step into the future of influencer marketing and stand out in a crowded space.

  1. The Shift to Social Searching

The search bar on social media platforms is the new Google for younger consumers. According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z prefers searching on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search. This shift towards social searching underscores the need for brands to craft content that stands out and is discoverable. Even paid content with influencers should be designed with this new search behavior in mind to maximize visibility. It’s time to dust off those old SEO strategies and integrate key terms and phrases within your influencers’ captions, social media updates, bios, and profile to boost your search presence.

  1. Niche Expertise

There are over 64 million influencers on Instagram alone. To stand out in the crowded space, influencers are carving out niches and becoming authorities in specialized domains. In the past, it was common for one influencer to share an array of content including, beauty, fashion, home decor and more. Now, influencers are seeing success when they generate very specialized content. Take Erica Taylor, a makeup artist with 27 years of experience and over 1.5 million followers on TikTok. She has narrowed in on anti-aging makeup tricks. Her videos include content geared toward doing makeup in your 40s. Another example, Eilidh Moffat, who focuses on skin care for the over-40 crowd and saw her following increase by 841% in 2023. Focus is your friend. For your next influencer campaign, partner with niche influencers who authentically align with your brand. 

  1. Long-Term Partnerships 

Brands are shifting from short-term campaigns featuring numerous influencers to establishing long-term relationships with brand ambassadors. That means fewer influencers, longer contracts, and more consistent coverage that can be amplified year-round. Brands are discovering the value in nurturing long-term relationships with influencers, cultivating a sense of trust and familiarity among audiences. When an influencer consistently shares a brand’s product across their platforms this sends a message to their followers that this is not just an #ad.  

  1. Micro over Macro

In influencer marketing, less often equals more. Influencers with a smaller following, known as micro-influencers (10K-100K followers), are driving significantly higher engagement rates of up to 60% compared to their macro counterparts (100K-1M followers). In fact, micro-influencers have engagement rates that are three times higher than mega-influencers (1M+ followers). 

To put it into perspective, an approachable momfluencer with just 80,000 followers could achieve greater results for your brand than partnering with a high-profile celebrity like Kim Kardashian and her 364M followers. A prime example and now a cautionary tale for marketers is Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with Solo Stove which garnered significant media attention but did not translate to strong sales. This serves as a reminder that more followers, such as Snoop Dogg’s 86.5M does not always equate to better results.

Want to learn more about strategizing a successful influencer campaign? Reach out to the Double Forte team for more information.