We’re moving from surviving to thriving in 2022 as we conquer the COVID-19 pandemic. The whole world has encountered many hurdles in the last few years, and for Europe, those challenges were slightly more significant. Economic output fell by 6.3% in the eurozone compared to only a 3.4% decline in the United States.
However, digital use has steadily increased around the globe and especially in the EU. In 2020, a prominent spike in online shopping habits was recorded across Europe, with many consumers stating that they had started e-shopping more due to the impact of the pandemic. In 2021, most European countries saw an increase in the number of people who said they bought more online due to the crisis.
Amid the persistence of the pandemic, we can only expect 2022 to parallel these findings.
For brands, this means finding ways to engage consumers online effectively. Marketing is more than keywords, hashtags, and ads. It’s about authentic storytelling and advocacy. Companies can no longer rely on simply creating and selling a brand themselves.
Cue influencer marketing. If you don’t know already, influencers are the new ads. Ads people want to see, not have to see. They are the ones on the front of the cultural conversation and who seamlessly integrate the brands they love into that conversation making them relevant to their loyal audience. If we have learned anything in the past decade, it is that people trust people more than they do brands.
On the global level, the influencer marketing market was valued at 6.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Then in 2021, the marketmore than doubled in value at a record 13.8 billion U.S. dollars. Italy is Europe’s fourth largest economy and influencer marketing spending was valued at 272 million euros in 2021 alone, marking a 12 percent increase from the previous year. This year, the industry as a whole is expected to gain even more momentum.
CONTENT OVER FOLLOWING
82% of marketers are leveraging content marketing in 2021. Regardless of audience size, marketers are looking for quality content. When looking for creators, brands will place less emphasis on how many followers they have and more on what kind of content they create. This will open more opportunities for the nano and micro-content creators.
“As audiences become more aware of how the social world works, they will only engage with influencers and content that matter to them and that authentically address the topics, ethics, and causes they care about. Looking at 2022, this continued demand for authenticity will now be powered with the re-launch of platform features that are now opening up accessibility to users of all sizes (ie. Instagram story links for all) – and I sense that as a result, this will drive an increasing shift into strategically utilising mid-tier, micro, and nano influencers that have more close-knit communities of dedicated and trusted followers,”
Open Influence Creative Strategist
Marketers don’t think of influencers as just a media buy. They see them as fundamental partners in their content marketing efforts, often repurposing creator content on their site, socials, and paid ads. Successful influencers can no longer get away with taking a picture holding a can of Coke. Instead, expect to see more impressive and creative videos from relatable consumers.
Social commerce will be the biggest buzzword in 2022. Don’t be surprised when you hear these words over and over again: live shopping, native affiliates, and product linking.
E-commerce is nothing new to social media. Its presence has been felt on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook for some time. The difference now is how seamlessly it is being integrated into the user experience.
In 2021, we witnessed how all major platforms took big steps into the social commerce space. Pinterest added shoppable functions that made it easier for creators to inspire purchases from their audience by tagging products in their posts. Twitter even brought back their e-commerce feature where businesses can list their products at the top of their Twitter profile. Overall, we’d say it’s TikTok that has stolen the spotlight and continues to strive to be the leading shopping destination for its 1 billion monthly active users. Just Google “TikTok Made Me Buy It” for a growing list of products that went viral after appearing on TikTok. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt now has over 8 billion views. Currently, TikTok Live features include scheduling and promoting events, live Q&A, and a co-streaming option for users with 5,000 followers or more. During a live, users have the option to be directed to a direct mobile checkout, hassle-free and safe, thanks to its partnership with Shopify.
“This year is going to be a watershed year for the creator economy and social commerce. The social platforms are continuing to increase their investment in tools to help creators monetise and in new features to help merchants sell directly to their audiences. With the ability to directly partner with creators and link your product catalogs natively in platforms like Instagram and TikTok, we will see influencer marketing transform from solely being treated as an awareness play to becoming more of a bottom-funnel marketing channel,”
Open Influence CEO
This was first seen back in 2020 when Amazon added shoppable livestreams and welcomed influencers to profit off of them. Their success encouraged all major social media platforms to invest in social commerce features, and even more updates will be adopted in 2022.
Here are the top 3 trends we expect to take a foothold in the influencer marketing world in 2022.
Why choose between in-person and online when you can have the best of both worlds?
After lockdowns, people crave to get out and try new experiences, but they’ve also grown accustomed to living online. Amazon launched its first checkout-free store in Britain last year, and now with the recent Metaverse developments, we predict consumers will expect brands to create hybrid experiences that meet their needs online and offline.
76% of shoppers surveyed in France use at least one type of omnichannel pick up or collection method. 82% of shoppers surveyed in France and 80% of shoppers surveyed in Germany made a purchase in-store after finding or discovering the item on social media.
Since most buyers prefer shopping in-store because it allows them to touch and feel their purchase, brands have begun to give a tangible experience to consumers digitally. A prime example is the cosmetic brand L’Oreal that has been creating augmented reality filters so that potential buyers can test their products.
Retailers need to look out for ways to leverage digital discovery moments on social media. Social platforms can help brands get closer to shoppers and interconnect brick and mortar stores with online experiences.
Not only will hybrid experiences boost sales, but it’s a highly personalised, seamless, and convenient way to add value to customers.
We have seen and documented an overall downward trend in consumer brand loyalty to legacy brands over the past decade, however, the past 2 years of COVID enforced disruption have rapidly changed that trajectory. Right now it is important for brands to provide a value exchange for potential consumers to interact with them either physically or digitally but also have an easy purchase mechanic for quick repeatable purchases. Challenger brands have really honed this craft in the past few years.”