Cost-effective, highly impactful and nimble enough to change with the times, influencer marketing has disrupted the marketing landscape. But we may not have seen anything yet. Thanks to its impressive ROI (roughly $6.50 for every dollar spent) and power to sway consumers of all age groups, influencer marketing continues to grow. The industry, worth an estimated $8 billion in 2019, is poised to explode to more than $22 billion in 2024 according to MarketsandMarkets.

That growth is happening while more brands get on board with the strategy. That ups the ante for marketers and brands looking to stand out. Getting the most out of influencer marketing depends on achieving the right mix of elements. Keeping campaigns authentic to the brand and working with the right influencers is essential. Staying on top of the current trends in influencer marketing and putting your unique twist on them is equally important.

Video Reigns Supreme

Video is all the rage in content marketing of all forms, including influencer marketing. As social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat continue shifting toward “Stories” and live video, consumers increasingly crave this engaging medium. It’s easily digested, gives viewers a look at what’s going on in real life and it’s downright entertaining. Video is accessible and engaging. And we’ve got some stats to back that up:

  • Approximately 97 percent of marketers believe that video offers more value in giving customers an understanding of products, services and brands
  • More than 80 percent of businesses are already using video to get all kinds of messages out
  • By 2021, experts predict that more than 80 percent of web traffic will be made of video

Video marketing gives brands and influencers an opportunity to create content that’s less salesy and more value-based. As a plus, it also presents you with the chance to tell a story, which is an effective way to catch and hold your audience’s attention. Want to optimize your videos? Try these tips:

  • Timing Is Everything: Match the length of the video with the platform you’re using. For example, on YouTube, a two-minute video may be ideal, but on Instagram, it’s better to stick to videos of around 30 seconds.
  • Include SEO: If you’re using captions or taglines, incorporate SEO into the mix to maximize accessibility and engagement.
  • Don’t Forget Your CTA: A call to action isn’t just for written materials. Let your audience know what steps they should take next, whether that’s to sign up for a newsletter or visit the brand website.

Data Drives Decisions

Data drives our digital world. And the marketing landscape is no exception. The algorithms of social platforms and fraud concerns paved the way for artificial intelligence (AI) to makes its grand debut in the influencer stratosphere. Data is playing a growing and essential role in influencer marketing, helping brands and marketers make informed decisions that ultimately increase the odds of success.

AI itself is a growing business projected to be worth around $3.9 trillion by 2022, but it’s still relatively new to influencer marketing. MarTech identifies several benefits of data – and more importantly AI – in influencer marketing, including the following:

  • It Can Help You Pinpoint Ideal Influencers: The beauty of AI is that it can analyze tons of content to determine how effective and engaging an influencer is. And it does so in a fraction of the time that it takes a human to comb through all the info.
  • It Spots Fakes and Fraud Faster: Just as AI can speed up the process of finding the right influencers, it also quickly sifts through account details. This lets it spot fake accounts, followers and reviews to overhaul multiple aspects of the marketing process.
  • It Identifies Valuable Content: Your audience is already being bombarded by images, ads and content. Harnessing data with AI can analyze everything that’s out there to pinpoint what’s working. And that can help you craft your campaigns accordingly so you’re sure that buyers are getting the message.

Long-Term Brand-Influencer Partnerships Are on the Rise

If you find influencers that are a perfect match for a brand, consider keeping the partnership intact for the long haul. The best-matched influencers are a goldmine for brands, and long-term collaborations offer multiple benefits. For starters, working with the same influencers offers a certain level of efficiency. It also lets brands leverage those partnerships, developing them into deep, authentic relationships that can drive audience engagement, market insights and sales.

Consumers come to identify influencers with the brand, which enhances the relationship and has the potential to impact sales. For influencers, a long-term arrangement provides an opportunity for financial stability. It also gives them a chance to continually work on a collaboration that resonates with their own values and those of their audience. Long-term partnerships are slowly overtaking one-offs. Additionally, Ad Age predicts that we’ll be seeing an increasing number of influencers and brands partnering up to create new brands and products together.

Superficial Metrics Fall Off

Despite the initial concerns about Instagram’s ban on likes, the move has made the topic of vanity metrics the center of conversation among marketers. And it turns out that many experts in the field already feel that superficial metrics such as likes, page views and downloads aren’t really useful.

Social media and influencer marketing are maturing. To glean important information, shift to meaningful metrics that better measure campaign success. What metrics should you include in your measurement approach? A few to consider include:

  • ROI
  • Conversions
  • Cost Per Click
  • Click-through Rate
  • Engagements

Brands Are Embracing Diversity

Over the years, the influencer marketing industry has faced backlash over images of impossible-to-attain perfection and an overwhelming lack of diversity and inclusion. Body positivity influencers like Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn) and Olakem (@_olakemi_) are shaking things up. The movement demonstrates that there’s no set metric to measure beauty, strength and the power of embracing yourself.

Your audience wants to connect with your content. It helps when they feel like they’re being seen and heard. They want to see more than one voice represented. In fact, research suggests viewing content that embraces diversity spurs 64 percent of consumers to act. That number is even higher among the LGBTQ community, blacks and Latinos.

TikTok Takes the Cake

While power platforms Instagram and YouTube remain popular, TikTok is steadily gaining power. It has a smaller (but growing) base, but it’s key for capturing Gen Z. The videos are short and engaging, giving consumers bite-sized content that’s easy to digest even with a limited attention span. Stats show that most users open the app eight times daily, spending a total of 45 minutes per day viewing snack-sized snippets. With the shift toward video and TikTok’s high engagement rate, it offers a sweet option in the influencer marketing toolkit.

Trends come and go. Staying on top of the latest and greatest helps keep you competitive. But working with the right influencers is the key to crafting authentic campaigns that resonate with your audience. Search for your next collaborators using IZEAx Discovery, a marketplace with more than 6 million influencers and content creators, to find that perfect partner.