Throughout 2021, influencers have shaped how people shop and how they use social media to make buying decisions. Research has found 87% of shoppers rely on social media to inform their purchases and 49% rely on influencers they find on social media for product recommendations. Companies see value in influencers, too. About 51% say they acquire better customers from influencers.
2021 was a unique year in the world of influencer marketing and ecommerce – and 2022 is shaping up to be similarly transformative. From the top trends in 2021 to our predictions for 2022, read on to polish your ecommerce influencer strategy in the coming year.
Smaller Influencers with a Larger Impact
It may not be a strictly 2021 trend, but micro influencers (and really, anyone posting about your brand on social media) are incredibly effective for ecommerce brands. You still can’t dodge the fact that there’s a bit of a numbers game involved. But the thinking that your ecommerce store needs to align with an influencer with more than 100,000 followers is simply old thinking.
In fact, today, an increasing number of larger companies have no problem partnering with micro-influencers for in-store promotions and product or brand endorsements. Some of these influencers may only have about 10,000 to 20,000 followers. Even nano-influencers in the sub-10,000 category can find themselves courted for sponsorships and product endorsement opportunities from the biggest brands. Revel Nail is an excellent example of a company seeing success with micro-influencers. Its use of micro-influencers and management of its influencer campaign using Pixlee’s CRM has lead to a 2% decrease in cart abandon rate, recouping as much as $25,000 in monthly revenue.
As you gather your social media data and research influencers for your ecommerce marketing campaigns, you can’t discount the power of a few smaller influencers whose following is highly engaged over larger ones with less engaged audiences.
Maintaining Integrity and Transparency
One of the attractions for influencers has been the fact that most are just passionate content creators looking to grow their community around a common interest. A good influencer will do precisely that, and avoid alienating their audience as best as they can. In 2021, working with influencers who are as close to your target customer proved to be a successful strategy for many ecommerce brands.
As the space grows, you can expect audiences to become more educated about the influencers they follow and demand transparency. 82% of users have expressed that they want to know if an influencer has actually used products they promote. They’ll want to know more about why they support products and brands and audiences will call into question partnerships that seem misaligned and not genuine. The sometimes-unspoken question that looms over influencers could be: at what point does an influencer become a celebrity? Yes, some celebrities are influencers, too, but remember, it’s that everyday person look and feel that has always made influencers attractive. Smaller-scale influencers not only have higher engagement rates, but a more loyal following that trust recommended products and are more likely to make purchases.
The issue of integrity will continue to pop up, and as the demand for authenticity and transparency continues to increase, more influencers will have to become more transparent with their audience about brands they work with and products they use. Their audience wants to know, and it’s one way they gauge legitimacy. That’s a good thing for ecommerce stores looking for the right personalities to align with. It improves the quality of the influencer pool.
Measure and Manage Campaign Success
Because the number of influencers continues to grow and the space is evolving, you also see more separation between vanity and real metrics. Some studies indicate companies make $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. Today, companies are gauging their experience with an influencer on ROI, but ROI can be measured differently, depending on your needs.
Your ecommerce store can track influencer marketing KPIs such as reach and impressions, content engagement, site traffic, direct sales, and more using Pixlee’s CRM platform to measure the success of your campaign. Once you determine which relationships, content types, and influencer campaigns are working for your brand, you can continue to manage relationships with influencers, retrieve analytics, and discover new influencers.
If you are on top of your marketing and customer data, you may be surprised to learn that some of your best influencers and brand advocates may reside right in your database. Many of them could be brought on board inexpensively with some free products or discounts, too.
The Growth of the Creator Economy Comes With New Content Types
As the influencer market and the integrity conversation grows, today’s influencers are less of a personality and more of a content creator. The days of simply snapping a photo of yourself with a product and posting to Instagram are officially behind us.
Today, in order to maintain their following and influence, influencers must create consistent, reliable, unfiltered and less scripted content. They rely on videos, podcasts and blogs and distribute through social media to help scale their content and keep their audiences engaged. Palladio Beauty uses video content like makeup tutorials and unboxing videos from influencers using its products to present reliable and authentic content to customers.
As a retailer or ecommerce store, you have to weigh the product mix an influencer engages with and where you fit in. Your marketing goals may mean you steer clear of certain influencers who have endorsed competitors or whose style towards reviews and endorsements may not fit the look and tone of your brand. You’ll need to evaluate their content closely, not just their following.
Expect influencers to continue to play a growing role in ecommerce and other online marketing efforts going forward. Since they came onto the scene in the mid-2000s, they’ve earned their followers’ trust and nurtured buying confidence that has brought value for businesses and brands. As an ecommerce business, the key is to find the right personality for your brand and products. Chances are there’s more than one.
Ray Ko has been creating effective visual merchandising and interior design strategies for retailers for more than 20 years. Today, he is the senior ecommerce manager for shopPOPdisplays, a leading designer and manufacturer of stock and custom acrylic product.