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Influencer-led branded content is set to boom

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Such a suspension sets the stage for the next boom in influencer marketing by brands, which is set to accelerate in 2022, digital agencies claim.

The increased digital penetration in small towns in India is likely to create growth opportunities for brands and increase the time spent on the medium keeping influencers in business. Besides, India is expected to have 750 million smartphone screens by 2025, according to data cited by a Ficci-EY report in March. This could lead to a massive increase in content creation, she said.

The internet and social media platforms are very dynamic. “Everyone needs fresh, fresh content,” said Mehul Gupta, co-founder and CEO of digital media agency SoCheers.

Earlier, a brand usually creates 4-5 ad films and reuses them for all media. The rise of digital platforms has changed that. “Brands can’t make a lot of ad films; therefore, they are increasingly using influencers to handle this vast market.”

What has also changed is how digital influencers are used. It no longer works if they choose a product or service, claim to use it, like it and urge consumers to do the same.

The lines between content creators and influencers have blurred. “Influencer marketing is actually content marketing now. The idea is to leverage content in the best possible way by brands,” said Shuchi Sethi, India Head of AnyTag, an influencer marketing platform.

“Influencers create great content that brands use on their own digital assets and also on influencer channels. This will go up in 2022,” Gupta said.

A report on influencer marketing in India by the AnyMind Group, which owns AnyTag, counts fashion, beauty, arts and entertainment, food and beverage, games and gadgets, among the most important influential sectors. AnyMind is a platform to enable end-to-end commerce for marketers, influencers, and businesses.

In India, YouTube is the preferred social media platform for influencers, with approximately 68% of them being total influencers (with 100,000 to 1 million followers). The report said that Facebook clearly outperforms Instagram in terms of influencers.

While more than half of the influencers (58.15%) are big influencers, in the next year, 9.32% expect to grow their followers and turn into big stars with more than 1 million followers. She added that nano influencers are the most populous on Facebook and Instagram.

However, Sethi expects a significant rise in the micro and nano influencer category in 2022. “Purchasing trends are changing, so the narrative will change too; brands may want to create assets that are relevant to their customers. The one thing brands are keen to explore is social commerce. We’ve already noticed quite a few brands that have successfully implemented social commerce-led campaigns.There’s going to be a huge uptick in this space,” Sethi said.

Ricky Agarwal, co-founder and COO of Blink Digital, a full-service digital agency, agreed that the ride on micro-influencers will only get bigger because brands prefer to engage multiple smaller creators to make content more relevant, authentic, and unique.

But now all brand partnerships with creators or influencers are required to be flagged and advertised as collaborations, paid partnerships or as ads on digital media, as per the Advertising Standards Board of India guidelines.

The rules are fair and ensure transparency, but they affect views of branded content. “Take the top 20 influencers and compare their likes, comments, and posts for the organic content they post with brand content in a paid partnership. You will notice the difference – if they get 50,000 likes for organic content, the sponsored content could drop to 10,000,” Agarwal explained.

If content is hard to sell to brands, engagement drops 50-60%, Gupta agreed, adding, “But if the content is good, they’ll stick with it.”

Shochi Bansal is mint Media, Marketing and Advertising Editor. The Ordinary Post will consider previous issues relating to all three. Or just fun stuff.

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