The Top Influencer Marketing Lessons from 2019

2019 was undoubtedly the biggest year for influencer marketing. Like, ever.

Whether you’re talking about the hard numbers – average campaign spend, ROI, number of creators, number of campaigns, number of posts – everything in influencer marketing is growing (and growing fast).

The Instagram Stories format is also growing at a rapid pace

2019 was also a watershed moment for influencers as a cultural phenomenon, kicking off with our collective fascination with Netflix and Hulus’ Fyre Festival documentaries (remember all those in-office discussions?). Fyre was just the beginning of what would become a wild ride of a year, one that would cement influencer as a household term. So – what takeaways have we learned from 2019?

The Platform Ecosystem Shakes, Rattles and Rolls (Still)

Back in January, we heard grumblings of an up-and-coming platform called TikTok, the result of a newly reformatted Music.ly. And later that year, in March, Old Town Road by Lil Nas X became a chart-topping phenomenon after its meteoric rise on the video platform. But it wasn’t until VidCon 2020, when Vanessa Pappas, General Manager for TikTok, took the stage to confirm what people were beginning to suspect – TikTok was going to be a major player in the space, and marketers better get ready.

As we know, the social media landscape is constantly changing. Whether it’s the emergence of new platforms, such as TikTok, or massive changes to preexisting players (such as Instagram’s flirtation with the removal of public-facing metrics such as Likes), marketers must remain as nimble as ever.

Just look at 2019. Back in January, many marketers couldn’t believe Instagram would be capable of removing such an integral function as Likes from the platform. Half a year later, it was being tested in seven countries around the world. Four months later and the test has already hit the US.

If you don’t believe 2020 will be the biggest year yet in terms of changes to social media, think again.

More Industries Are Discovering the Power of Influencers

Fashion and beauty brands were among the first to embrace the power of influencer marketing. But as we’ve seen from the past year, businesses from all sorts of verticals are increasingly turning to content creators to drive results. Automotive, household, insurance and financial – these are just some of the spaces that are upping their investment in influencer campaigns (you can listen to our awesome Account Manager, Tolu Oladapo, explain why in the video below).

Even industries in highly-regulated spaces, such as alcohol and cannabis brands, are finding great success with influencers. Expect to see even the most niche of businesses jump into this exciting space in 2020.

The Industry Itself Is Growing More Interconnected

Open Influence was a first-mover in the influencer marketing space, but our industry has grown and evolved – especially over the past five years. We’ve seen an explosion of interest from marketers, advertisers, brands, creators, and more: people eager to learn about this revolutionary way of connecting brands and consumers.

To fill the growing need for community spaces and face-to-face interaction, many companies have begun producing influencer-specific events. One such event is the Open Influence Summit, which will proudly be returning later this year (stay tuned for details!).

Featuring over a dozen panels, the first OI Summit was a smash success. Take a look at a stand-out panel featuring Brian Solis

Adweek’s Elevate: Influencers or the Influencer Marketing Show are just a few more examples of the many influencer-based happenings you can find all over the world. Stay on the lookout for any events coming near you! These spaces are where marketers can jump-start their efforts with exclusive insights, tips and tricks from the leading minds in the industry.

Creators Keep Raising the Bar (and Good!)

Each year, social media creators find new and innovative ways to keep their content fresh and engaging. If you’re aiming to make an influencer marketing play in 2020, it’s not enough to simply recycle the same visuals and concepts from the past half-decade of web content. Take Instagram for example, which has evolved far beyond the tried-and-true In Feed post. If you haven’t tried a campaign using their highly-popular Stories format yet, you’re seriously missing out.

That also means that brands have a responsibility as well – to remain open-minded to creators’ ideas. If influences are going to put themselves out there and propose exciting, bold tactics, brands need to be receptive and not whittle them back down to something ordinary and already done.

 

Our award-winning campaign for Universal’s MA featured interactivity and other innovative tactics!

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That’s it, everyone. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of a relief as we turn the page of 2019. But let’s also drink a strong cup of a coffee to 2020, which will surely be the biggest year in influencer marketing to date. Are you ready?

As always, if want to stay current on everything influencer marketing, be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter, the News Feed. Now is the perfect time, as 2020 is just beginning!