The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been cracking down on influencer marketing across social media platforms. Now, brands must ensure influencers are disclosing paid partnerships or gifting in the correct manner.
The ASA named and contacted specific influencers who regularly crossed advertising guidelines when posting ad content online. A final warning was issued to 122 UK-based creators putting them on notice, which could lead to fines being imposed.
The ASA has also banned misleading filters on beauty adverts, which was in response to a #filterdrop campaign that originated on social media.
Elsewhere, Norway has made it illegal to not label a retouched photo on social media. The new law is an amendment of the 2009 Marketing Act to ensure influencers do not perpetuate unrealistic body standards in the country.
Creators are using their ready-made audiences they’ve built on social media to launch their own businesses. In the beauty space, we’ve seen the likes of the D’Amelio sisters, Liza Koshy and Maura Higgins releasing their products with big-name brands. However, we can expect influencers to branch out further in 2022, with creators launching their own business ventures.
In 2021 we saw Nikkie De Jager, also known as NikkieTutorials on YouTube, launch her own beauty brand named Nimya. Beauty retailers are already cashing in on creator brands, with the likes of Beauty Bay, being the first to snap up influencer brands to help consumers purchase creator products.
Soon, brands will want to collaborate with influencers’ own brands or in the case of The Inkey List, build a whole brand with a creator, as seen with Hyram and Selfless By Hyram.
Dealing with increased platform competition
The sudden rise, and surge to prominence of TikTok, which has seen the platform become the fourth largest in terms of monthly active users, means that social platforms are more competitive with one another than ever before. TikTok’s turnover grew by 545% in Europe last year as advertisers increased spend on the platform.
The result of this fierce competition is long-standing players copying engaging features to stay relevant, and to take the market share away from the new players.
This has been the case with Clubhouse having live audio concepts ripped and replicated on Facebook, and TikTok’s vertical swipe video feed being replicated on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and even Pinterest.
The impact of all this competition highlights the need to stay ahead of platform trends to ensure brands can react to industry change early, and benefit from elevated organic reach.
It is also crucial to understand what formats actually work, we’ve seen the likes of Twitter drop Fleets due to a failure of usage, so brands must do their due diligence to ensure new formats are worthy of content investment.
Social media platforms are adept in recognising the popularity of influencers as a media channel, as a result, they are working more than ever on data and insights to assist marketers and creators in creating data-led decisions.
Instagram is the frontrunner when it comes to regularly updating data and analytics. Recently, they added detailed demographic information, issuing information on exactly who is engaging with content and the types of audiences that are being reached.
Alterations to platform algorithms
Instagram and YouTube both share the same spotlight when it comes to declining reach and engagement. This is due to changes in algorithms that aren’t fully explained by platforms, leaving creators in the lurch.
Creators have voiced their concerns and called for the likes of Instagram to shed some light on what is happening with platform algorithms.
Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, recently addressed ongoing declines in engagement and highlighted a bug in Instagram’s code that caused posts not to show up on people’s feeds, ultimately leading to engagement declines.
Shifts of algorithms to serve more desirable content to the individual has meant creators have to up their game in terms of engaging their audience and content output.
As a result, influencers who have no understanding of algorithms or interest cultivating tight knit communities will eventually experience a huge drop off in engagement as content ceases to be served to audiences in their immediate following and beyond.
Tools for on-platform brand partnerships
The likes of Instagram and TikTok are ushering in new ways to facilitate brand partnerships by understanding the importance of brand promotions and the impact they have on creators.
For example, TikTok has made it simple for brands to utilize trending organic content from a creator and essentially boost videos to a specified audience. This is all part of the new Spark Ads option, which allows brands to leverage an influencer’s own handle to run ads that are native to the platform and have already experienced success prior to advertising rights.
Instagram and Pinterest have also been working away on their partnership tools. Pinterest has started to allow creators to monetize their content through tagging Idea Pins with shoppable products, and paid partnership tagging with selected partners across the US, Europe and Latin America.
Influencer marketing in the Metaverse
The metaverse is already gaining tremendous speed and delivering impressive results within the digital space. The Gucci Garden and Chipotle exhibitions held in Roblox earlier this year were two amazing insights into how the metaverse works.
But, what does a cross between the metaverse and influencer marketing look-like, or what can we expect it to look like?
Prada introduced Candy back in October, as part of their “rethink reality” collection, Candy appeared head-to-toe in Prada gear, flaunting some of the season's hottest items, and looking at home as an influencer promoting fashion products. Except she’s not real - well, not physically anyway. Candy is a computer-generated avatar, created to promote a fragrance collection, also named Candy.
This is what we can expect from future meta/influencer campaigns, virtual reincarnations of popular figures, adorned in branded attire and existing only in an augmented reality.
Rowan Byers, insights executive at The Goat Agency.