Study: COVID-19 Shakes Up Digital Marketing; Influencers Remain a Go-To Strategy

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SocialPubli, the leading global micro-influencer marketing platform, announced the release of the 2020 Influencer Marketing Report: A Marketer’s Perspective. The report highlights the trends, goals, and attitudes of marketers working with influencers to enhance brand visibility.

In this study, SocialPubli polled 200 marketing professionals from 15 countries worldwide to gain insights on:

  • Influencer communication strategies, platforms and ROI
  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their influencer partnerships
  • Opportunities for growth and impact through influencer partnerships

The surveyed professionals work in marketing, public relations, social media, and advertising, and partner regularly with influencers and influencers platforms.

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Findings from the study emphasize the ongoing value of influencer partnerships, even in times of uncertainty. When asked to rate the success of their influencer marketing campaigns during COVID-19, 90% of marketers stated their results were the same or better than pre-COVID. In terms of influencers’ response to the pandemic, 89% of marketers believe that their attitudes and reactions have been normal to very positive.

The post-COVID world hasn’t left marketers and their efforts unscathed. 38.2% of marketers reported making overarching changes to their marketing budgets and investments. However, a smaller amount (32.8%) report major changes in influencer marketing spend.

“During a life-altering event like the COVID-19 pandemic, people are hungry for connection and normalcy. Social media plays an even larger role in their daily routines; businesses need to shift their attention to the same platforms,” said Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of SocialPubli. “By partnering with influencers, brands are able to create stronger connections and find a way to be included in their prospects’ and customers’ daily lives. Businesses are relying on influencer marketing to uphold their positive brand image, increase awareness, and reach new audiences during these difficult times. By investing in influencer engagement, they’ll be more likely to forge a lasting connection, one that will extend far beyond the impact of COVID.”

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Additional key data points from the 2020 survey include:

1. Influencer marketing continues to generate strong returns for organizations. 89% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is effective and 42% of those surveyed listed influencer marketing as their top ROI-generating strategy; this number increased almost seven percentage points when compared to SocialPubli’s 2019 Influencer Marketing Report.
2. Top challenge shifts from ROI to fraud. In the 2019 survey, marketers were focused on figuring out ROI measurement methods. In this year’s survey, fraud concerns claimed the top spot. 54% of marketers state that the industry’s main challenge is ensuring the authenticity of influencers’ followers.
3. Instagram continues to be the top platform. 96% of marketers consider Instagram their preferred medium for influencer partnerships. At the same time, TikTok continues to gain prominence and relevance in influencer circles, with almost one-third of those surveyed considering the video-sharing app a preferred platform for influencer partnerships.
4. The majority of marketers (88%) prefer to work with influencers who have a following of less than 100,000. This preference correlates with the evolution of influencer marketing overall, as marketers shift their goals from reach to engagement.
5. Marketers are showing increased confidence in influencers as strategic brand content creators. 72% prefer influencers to create 100% original content using their own creativity and insights.

“The study shows that influencer marketing is a lasting tool that has withstood the ups, downs, and uncertainty of COVID-19 and that these partnerships can be leveraged to create meaningful connection regardless of circumstance,” El-Qudsi said. “Influencer marketing continues to experience tremendous growth across a wide range of niches because it builds authentic relationships that lead to meaningful engagement in a time when content is everywhere, but attention is scarce.”

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