TL;DR: 5 influencer marketing trends will reign in 2023 – realness, collective influence, communities, affiliate payment model and using gated content

Three years ago, when I forayed into influencer marketing with DYT, there were many doubters. 

Some wrote it off. 

Others painted it as a fad.

Few thought it’d ever be a powerful tool in their arsenal.

Cut to the present day: they know better.

Globally, influencer marketing spending has reached $16.4 billion, says Ogilvy. In India alone, the industry is valued at INR 1275 crores and by 2026 it’ll cross INR 2800 crores, reports INCA-e4m.

Now brands want to hitch every bandwagon to creators. 

So, with 2023 on the horizon, I forecast 5 influencer marketing trends to better harness their power.

My predictions for influencer marketing trends in 2023

We’re living in an era of screens. 

There’s one in front of us and one, very likely, attached to our hands about 80% of the time. It brings an inundation of content, which is leading to changes in influencer marketing.

1. Realness will equal influence

In the fullness of time, influencer campaign success will depend on realness. Only when creators are vulnerable and, to use the very hackneyed term, authentic, is their content persuasive and influential. So, nix scripted campaigns and use genuine people to tell credible stories.

2. Capitalise collective influence

Up until now, most influencer campaigns purchased the power of one creator for a moment in time. One of the influencer marketing trends that’ll rise in 2023 is plural influence. By that, I mean combining creators for campaigns and merging their creativity to produce content.

Such partnerships will prove effective because a) they cross-pollinate audiences, increasing reach; b) they stretch small budgets as the creators come in a single paid package.

3. Communities do the leg work

Two types of communities will reign supreme in the near future. First, is a community of hand-picked creators that a brand uses repeatedly for several campaigns to cash in on the benefits of a long-term partnership. Second is online, micro-communities that have a common passion.  

55% of Gen Z say that they watch content that no one they know personally is interested in. In other words, they’re creating connections online, forcing marketers to move beyond target segments tied to physical spaces.

Smart brands will latch onto small online communities relevant to their brand and ingrain themselves into those conversations. Such communities are great at spreading word of mouth. Again, at very small budgets.

4. Affiliate influencer marketing rises

Of all the influencer marketing trends in 2023, the one I’m most zealous about is the switch to affiliate marketing.

Till now, influencer campaigns primarily functioned at the top of the funnel. The metrics measured were impressions, reach, and engagements. But the world where these metrics were king is going to sleep. 

Platforms are evolving to include commerce and trackable links that help quantify conversions, thanks to which creator compensation models will change.

Besides the lump sum amount given for content creation, influencers would also earn through commissions, exclusive coupon codes, or discounts.

5. Tapping into gated, premium content

77% of creators still depend on brand deals to earn an income. But that is changing too. Revenue streams are diversifying with the rise of exclusive and gated content.

This is content subscribers have to pay for to consume. Twitter’s SuperFans or Instagram Subscriptions are just the tip of the iceberg, which also includes workshops, digital products, physical merch, etc.

In 2023, marketers will target this tiered content because it would have the least number of #ads. To lean into this influencer marketing trend, brands will have to nurture long-term partnerships with creators by subscribing to and engaging with their content and investing in their careers.

Shifting with the change in influencer marketing trends

How people buy is shifting. Sales have gone social.

Kantar finds that influencers reach 1 in 4 Indians—that’s an eye-watering 54.9 million direct consumers. 

The picture gets rosier indeed. This year, 80% of consumers made a purchase because an influencer recommended it. It means, as we head into economic uncertainty, creators and influencer marketing can be one of the most effective ways to sell for brands.

Of course, between success and failure, there is a vast land filled with poorly executed campaigns. So, here’s my #shamelessplug – if you want to leverage influencer marketing trends in 2023 (with firm guardrails), hit us up!