Is 2020 the year when influencer marketing will reach maturity?

Is 2020 the year when influencer marketing will reach maturity?

Imagine this: the influencer marketing industry was worth US$8 billion in 2019; but it is set to grow by leaps and bounds in 2020 reaching a whopping $15 billion by 2022. This intense growth period is accompanied by great change, particularly when it comes to the need for new rigour and standardisation.

At Traackr, we’ve been watching this industry grow and if we had to place our bets on what's in store for 2020 and beyond, this is what what we see.

There are six important trends that will shape this period of growth and understanding them will be critical for business and brands.

1. 2020 is the year influencer marketing has its ‘Glow Up’

This year we will see the entire influence ecosystem mature. Influencer marketing budgets have increased to the point where performance measurement is a must-have. Influencers are learning to balance the demands from brands with the needs of their audience, while consumers are becoming more selective about which influencers they invite into their lives.

Expect to see shifts from marketers and influencers as consumers demand more authenticity.

2. Influencer marketing and media planning are at war; influencer marketing will win

You heard it here first! Influencer marketing budgets are big enough now that they are eating into media buys and media planning teams have taken notice.

While the ramifications of this battle will take a few years to fully cascade, in 2020 we expect to see advertisers transfer even more traditional ad spend to influencer marketing. It will be fascinating to see how each practice develops success metrics and investment models to win the budget debates.

Nicolas Chabot

3. The influence bubble is going to burst

In 2020, we will finally tie native social and influencer performance to business metrics such as brand lift, website traffic, organic search and sales.

This will shine a bright light on the dark side of the influence industry. So-called influencers who have neglected to build authentic followings will no longer thrive. Agencies offering superfluous services will go out of business. Brands that treat influencer marketing like advertising will evolve. And, yes, technology platforms that don’t enable authentic and measurable programs will fold or be forced into consolidation.

4. Influencer marketing measurement moves further down the funnel

Wary of influencer fraud, marketers will adopt new marketing KPIs tied to engagement, brand affinity, values and authenticity.

CMOs are being held accountable to market share and sales, so new metrics and models will be adopted in 2020 to understand how influencer marketing connects to first party data like website traffic, organic search and leads/ conversions. In addition to brand awareness, we’ll see brands and platforms work hard in 2020 to develop measurement models that cover the entire funnel.

5. Brand marketers will act now to build their dream teams

The strong performance of influencer content over traditional advertising makes influencer marketing a requirement in any ambitious brand strategy. It also means that making the right selection is critical.

A bit like football teams making strategic player picks, those who hesitate will lose out on aligning with the right influencers. It will be hard to ‘unbuild’ the competitive advantage their competitors may have gained by getting there first and building important associations.

6. Purpose will drive profits

Organizations that succeed in tying their brands to a bigger purpose will experience strong growth. Everything else is becoming a commodity.

By partnering with influential voices and communities, brands can bring their purpose to life.

It will be fascinating to see how 2020 unfolds in the influencer marketing industry. One prediction that seems certain enough is that if next year is anything like 2019, we’re in for a wild ride.