In today’s society, influencer marketing has progressed into a whole new outlook compared to the past. For example, things that may have worked in the past do not comply in our current generation. One thing we know for sure is that brands have realized how crucial it is to either promote a certain product or reach and connect with their target audience. This year alone, a study conducted by Oberlo discovered that 93% of companies have executed influencer marketing campaigns and use it as a key advertising strategy, (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2022).
Although influencer marketing has been around for decades or even centuries, there’s no doubt it has evolved to fit into different generations. Here’s a summarized breakdown of what we know so far about the evolution:
- It all started with our pioneers in the 18th century when people started looking up to them with the utmost respect. Presumably, this is where word-of-mouth really started gaining momentum.
- Then, we moved on to our beloved fictional characters - from Coca-Cola’s popularization of Santa Claus, Quaker Oats’ Little Mickey to GEICO’s Gecko mascot, or the famous Barbie of Mattel.
- Eventually came celebrity endorsements (where it’s still being used until today). Due to their mass following and fame, they have the power to influence their fans to purchase a certain product or service.
- Although celebrities are known to be powerful individuals, it’s not always the most effective method. This transformed into the public gravitating towards reality TV or stars whom people saw as more relatable and authentic.
- As these reality personalities developed more fame and engagement, they started the pathway to the world of social media.
- When social media started growing, people started becoming fond of sharing their personal life online which then led to what we now know as ‘influencer marketing,’ (Aspire, 2020).
Looking at how influencer marketing has evolved over the years, it’s safe to say that the field is constantly improving and expanding to fit into each generation. The question remains - how has influencer marketing progressed to relate to today’s generation and is it for the better?
Through research and observation, it’s apparent that influencer marketing has dominated either one or two platforms. It was first seen on Facebook and then shifted to Instagram - which has been the leading platform of marketing for many years. According to Techcrunch, influencer marketing spending in the United States has been the highest for Instagram, totalling up to around $2 billion, followed by Youtube with around $900 million, (Techcrunch, 2022).
Similarly, the content on these platforms has been quite consistent. When it first started, we constantly came across ones that always seemed to be picture-perfect. There was always bright lighting, clean product placements or influencers posing with products which all contributed to an overall aesthetically-pleasing feed.
Although these aspects still remain as is, we noticed that there’s also been a change in the way influencers are executing content in recent years.
With Tik Tok thriving more and more, we’ve noticed a change in the type and style of content that people are attracted to. From what I’ve observed, it’s safe to say that highly edited or flawless-looking content (especially the ones we see pretty often on Instagram) is no longer the most attractive. People have started focusing on content that’s more relaxed, and casual as this is what regular everyday people prefer to consume, as it is more relatable in contrast to the idyllic or extravagant lifestyle.
To answer the question posed, I believe that influencer marketing has evolved into a more relatable approach, where the content is more laid-back compared to the usual staged ones that we’re so used to. In my opinion, I think this is for the better as it speaks to the public more and is ideally, a better way for brands or influencers to connect with their audience even more.
That being said, who knows what influencer marketing will look like in the next five to ten years? Curious to learn more about Advocacy & Influencer marketing? Schedule a chat with us!