Predictions for influencer marketing's direction in 2019

Apr 4, 2019
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Twice a year, we send each of our clients a copy of Fohr Review: a physical newspaper anthologizing our finest, latest campaigns, game changing digital products, and the programming we’ve offered brands and influencers for the past half year. This is the letter CEO James Nord wrote for Issue 5 which came out in the beginning of 2019. As we’re a few months into the year, we reflect on how some of these predictions have already come true (like #2).

There is this poem by Sandra Cisneros that I love, and in it the author reflects on the lack of monuments built to passing things. How something that was so important to you can just kind of fade away and she states, "There should be stars for great wars like ours. There ought to be awards and plenty of champagne for the survivors."

I found myself thinking of these lines as 2018 turned to 19 and the preverbal slate was wiped clean, the page was erased and past accomplishments, which in their time were so important, turn to stone, fences for you to jump over this year.

Sure, having to discard of your past accomplishments every year can feel depressing, but it is this molting that leads to progress, and in the spirit of the new year I will restrain myself from extolling the past 12 month and instead put my pen to paper to think about the next.  

1. Growth: By all economic indicators, the influencer space will continue to grow and expand this year as efficacy of traditional digital advertising becomes more and more elusive and attention is consolidated around social media apps.

2. Instagram will launch expanded shopping features in an effort to prove efficacy of advertising on the platform, first by allowing Influencers to sell product related to their sponsored posts.

3. The word "influencer" will stop meaning anyone with a following and marketers will start to pay attention to who has real "influence" and who simply has an audience.

4. Influencers looking to have long term viability will have to start posting less sponsored content, we think the sweet spot is around 10-25% of their feed sponsored, right now many influencers are at 50%.

5. Caption will become more important in helping to tell the product story on sponsored posts. The imagery on the platform has become rather homogenized, and influencers who can write well and convince their audience of a products merits will get more work.  

6. Brands will stop caring about follower counts and focus on true reach and impressions, this will cause a fall in macro influencer pricing (which I believe is inflated).

7. Brands will stop putting as much emphasis on driving traffic to their URLs but instead start thinking about their owned social channels as their brand's home, making it easier to justify influencer ROI.

8. More and more influencers will start YouTube channels as Instagram becomes more crowded and difficult to grow.

9. Instastories will get more professional and less "in the moment" with influencers treating their stories like a daily short film.

10. Brands will start to look outside the narrow view of influencers as someone who talks about style and beauty and start thinking about artists, gamers, podcasts hosts and more.