My View on COVID-19’s Impact on Influencer Marketing
My View on COVID-19's impact on Influencer Marketing
A perspective from Kayla Lalik, Account Executive at Advantage
It’s safe to say we’re living in a time that none of us could have ever anticipated. To help get through this unique time in our lives, consumers are turning to their smart devices to help take their mind off the current state we’re living in. Everyone is struggling in their own way right now, businesses included. It’s evident that as businesses are adjusting to the “new normal”, their marketing strategies are adjusting as well. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there has been a large spike in the amount of time people have been spending on their smart devices. Just about everyone is trying to find solace right now by turning to the internet as a way to stay informed, connected and entertained. Almost all social media websites have seen a significant increase in their engagement since this pandemic began, and there’s evidence to prove it:
Facebook comments are up 20.2%
Instagram video views are up 23% and likes are up 30%
Instagram Live- 10x increase with top talent creating content for thousands of fans tuning in daily
TikTok- 18% week-on-week uplift in downloads in the United States March 16-22
YouTube- 20-30% increase in engagement with the most popular being sport-related content, followed by health and fitness videos and arts and culture videos (DIY, make-up routines, etc)
Twitch- 31% growth in viewership and recently shattered it’s all time viewership record.
These statistics may continue to rise as more people are potentially laid off and confined to their homes.

How Will Businesses Adapt?

As the world has come to a halt, individuals and businesses are doing their best to adapt to the changing state. How are companies adapting their marketing strategy during these unprecedented times? At Advantage we’ve guided many of our clients to adapt an evolved strategy with a heavy emphasis in digital marketing, as we’re all in a holding pattern for the time being. Investing heavier in digital marketing seems to be one of the few solutions businesses can utilize to get their message out. One of the more popular digital marketing methods brands are using to connect with potential customers is influencer marketing. What is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that utilizes celebrities and individuals with a significant social media following to endorse a company or product. There are different types of influencers such as; celebrities including artists, athletes and pop culture stars; bloggers/content creators; macro/micro/nano influencers or individuals with impact on social media and industry experts/thought leaders. These different types of influencers bring different benefits to brands, but in general influencer marketing can be an effective avenue for brands to connect to targeted audiences.

What Makes Influence Marketing So Popular and Why Should Brands Consider This Tactic?

Influencer marketing works because of its authenticity and its seamless ability to build trust with large, targeted audiences. Research suggests that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals and 81% of U.S. consumers trust advice and information from blogs/bloggers. Influencers provide insight into their personal lives, and interact with their followers. Responding to messages, giving their opinions on products, and their accessibility set them apart from their celebrity counterparts. These actions create a relationship and generate trust between the consumer and influencer.
Right now, influencers or “content creators” are delivering the morale-boosting and uplifting content that people are seeking during this vulnerable time. While everyone is encouraged to stay at home, influencers are being forced to create content from the comfort of their own space, producing raw and real content that’s far less polished from their norm. This is bringing more authenticity to the influencer, connecting to their audience now more than ever. We’re all in this together after all, right? This pandemic has been the catalyst that has taken influencer marketing back to its roots of authenticity. Brands now have the opportunity to create content that makes people feel like they aren’t alone. There is no greater time than now for brands to create an emotional bond with their audience.

My Two Cents

Speaking from personal experience I can say two things; I have bought products that influencers have endorsed and I have also seen an increase in influencers endorsing new products since the pandemic. Since the stay at home order went into place, I can also say that I’ve been spending more time on my phone browsing social media (I think we can all agree that Apple needs to cool it with sending out your weekly screen time report) and have heavily considered buying products I’ve seen endorsed. As a personal testament of how influential influencers can be, I have made several recipes I’ve found through food influencers and have done quite a few at-home workouts that fitness influencers have posted. I’ve undoubtedly turned to influencers as a way to make the most out of this quarantine, and I’m hardly alone.
I believe this pandemic has and will continue to change how marketers reach their audience. As states loosen the restrictions on social distancing, people will still be wary to get close to others. People will choose to avoid large crowds until they feel like it’s safe enough to do so, meaning they will continue to limit time outside their home and browse their social media more than they have in the past. Personally, I think we will continue to see brands lean into influencer campaigns as a way to authentically connect with their target audience.