Top 5 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020

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When we first posted this blog piece, 2020 was just a newborn notion, full of promise and evolution. That major influencer marketing company, Forbes predicted, among other things, that content would move aggressively toward home voice platforms, that Netflix would shrivel in the face of other streaming platforms and that Snap would become the next big social thing for the YA crowd.

Then, the optimism and speculation gave way to the most horrific global pandemic in over 100 years. 

Suddenly everything new was old again. But let’s take a second look as we come upon the halfway point of 2020 and re-visit the five influencer marketing strategies that we think will still take hold and emerge as industry leaders while the world adapts to the “new normal” of living with and hopefully soon combating the COVID-19 virus.

As we take our first steps into the new decade, there’s an unprecedented amount of buzz around the future of influencer marketing, especially as new social media platforms and content formats emerge and thrive. While we initially thought that 2020 would be bigger, more creative, and more sophisticated than anything we’ve seen before, now we are in a holding pattern.

There are still many new trends being exposed by influencer marketing firms across the globe. It’s just that these trends are going to take a little longer to gain traction.

Here are still five trends we think will be most impactful heading into the second half of the year and beyond.

1- Brands Will Invest More Heavily in Paid Social to Boost Influencer Content

Paid social is steadily becoming a fundamental component of most influencer campaigns and a good way to maximize media value. Platforms such as Instagram influencer marketing and Facebook have made the process of boosting influencer content easier than ever over the past few years with things such as the Handshake Tool, and brands are realizing the benefit of putting ad dollars behind influencer content to cut through an increasingly-noisy ecosystem where organic impressions are at an all-time low.

By boosting post visibility, brands can both tap into creators’ own highly-engaged followers and find potential new customers outside of their network. Boosting also gives marketers the option to drill deeper into the demographics and target audiences along different axis such as location, gender, etc. It’s why the number of campaigns we button-up with paid social media has been increasing year-on-year and we don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon.

2 – TikTok Will Gain Huge Ground As More Campaigns Roll Out

If you were in the the Open Influence office in 2019 and you spotted one of our team members sharing something on their phone, it was either one of two possibilities: a very important email or a TikTok video. That’s how quickly the video-sharing platform has taken over as the de-facto app for passing the time with infectiously addicting content, both in our office and around the world.

Already in 9th place when it comes to audience size, Tik Tok is a key influencer marketing strategy boasts 500 million active users worldwide, 41 percent of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24 – i.e. the enigmatic and much-studied Generation Z.  Not only that, but the app, which is beloved by users for its expansive music library and video editing capabilities, is regularly on the iTunes App Store’s most downloaded list.

But here’s where it goes from impressive to attention-demanding: Tik-Tok content has already transcended the platform. Case in point? Released as a single in December 2018, Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road recently made music history by becoming the 27th highest-performing record of the entire 2010’s – fueled largely by its viral fame on TikTok.

3 – Video Will Continue to Be the Internet’s Darling Format

Blogs and image macros may have been the Internet’s first kids, but without a doubt, the favorite child remains video. Video is in many ways the native language of the internet. While other forms of media such as books and photography had long been democratized by consumer technologies, the internet and technology made it possible for the average person to create and distribute video on a wide scale for the first time. And young audiences/creators inherently understand the language of video, as they are some of the first creators to be raised in a world where TV and telecomms have always existed.

Video is currently the richest form of media we enjoy (sorry VR, but your time is coming) and it’s easy to see why brands are investing more heavily in sponsored video content. The rise of vertical video is only fueling this boom, as formats such as Instagram Stories and TikToks continue to make creating and consuming short video content intuitive, easy and fun. 

As an influencer marketing agency in Los Angeles, we live and breathe video content in the heart of Hollywood’s film industry. But with the advent of personal video devices (i.e. your phone) every person in the farthest reaches of the globe is now a quality filmmaker. Plan to see a glut of new video content unleashed once the world gets out of their house and back to work in the real world.

4 – Metrics Will Move Further Down the Funnel

Expect to see more bottom-funnel strategies in 2020 with tactics such as coupon codes and trackable links placed in profile bios, Stories and more. Although some content creators charge higher rates for renting the precious real-estate within their bios and such, more brands and agencies we talk to are having conversations around the best ways to drive and measure ROI. If you work on any influencer-facing project this year, don’t be surprised if it comes up.

5 – The Value of Engagement Rates Will Shift

The social media landscape is always changing, and that’s certainly true right now. Instagram and Facebook are currently testing the removal of public-facing performance metrics such as Likes and Views, and preliminary data suggests that such a policy would have a negative impact on engagement rates across the board. As the platforms tweak and adjust just how exactly they want users to engage on their platform, the value we as marketers place in engagement rate will have to shift. Already, we at Open Influence are relying less on engagement rate during the influencer selection process and consider it just one of many factors for determining a potential match.


That’s all for now! Which of these five trends do you think will be most impactful in 2020? Have you begun strategizing for TikTok yet? We’d love to hear from you on our social channels or on our influencer marketing firm’s website. Let’s make something awesome together as we slide out of this pandemic and get back to the fun and games of influencer marketing for the masses. 

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