INFLUENCER MARKETING TRENDS IN 2023
Clark is proud and happy to share that our 2022 trend predictions have proven, for the vast majority, to be accurate. From the surge of short videos and audio to the growth of NFTs and socially responsible influence, content creators and followers have been at the center of many disruptions in the way they consume and produce content. We are back for more and excited to look into what 2023 will have to offer! How will marketing be shaken up by new and unprecedented trends? Let's crack the industry's major emerging trends together!
Trend #1: Responsible influence is gaining momentum!
Aligned with main societal trends, responsible influence has grown to become one of the main themes in the industry. Following the numerous incidents related to influencers engaging their communities with life-threatening challenges, promoting brands with questionable value propositions or ones accused of dropshipping and fraud. Marketing professionals and the media industry have decided to take a closer look at these different aspects. Examples of such events included the #BlackOutChallenge consisting of pushing oneself to faint by causing partial asphyxiation, the promotion of unstainable brands such as Pretty Little Things or Shein, and the scandal around French agency Shauna Events managed by company S.A.S.
As a result, in 2022, many stakeholders have come together and voiced their concerns and opinions:
Echoing a British law project imposing a tax on entities digitally modifying bodies, Ogilvy UK announced that it no longer wants to collaborate with influencers using Photoshop or other similar platforms, to alter their bodies. They will be able to spot adjusted content using a technology developed internally. Similarly, the agency explained that it wanted to educate its clients on sending influencer briefs that would be "less rigid" and would allow content creators to be "more authentic". Already driven by body empowerment, the Dove brand has extended this ambition to its choices and criteria for influencer casting.
In France, the ARPP (Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité) has launched the Responsible Influence Certificate in order to promote ethical influence marketing. It is dedicated to influencers collaborating with advertisers in order to publish commercial or institutional content.
As a result, Club Med has included the acquisition of the above certificate as a mandatory criterion to become a brand ambassador.
In addition, some environmental activists and influencers have been growing exponentially. Drag queen Pattie Gonia has seen her follower-base quadruple since January 2020, as a result of her ability to fearlessly question and criticize corporations and institutions on their lack of social and environmental commitment.
We are convinced 2023 will continue on the same trend and be full of novelties and concrete actions from brands, advertisers, agencies, and other institutions. Brands will increasingly select influencers according to their level and degree of ethics, their sustainable commitments, and their responsible speech on social networks.
Trend #2: The rise of collaborations around the creation of exclusive content
In 2022, co-creation and collaboration between brands and influencers were already established, but in 2023 we expect this marketing technique to continue its growth, as its success in terms of community engagement and sales has been proven.
American influence giants Khaby Lame and Charli d'Amelio continue their respective collaborations with Pepsi and Dunkin Donuts. Universal Pictures thought of a product co-created with MrBeast for its network of restaurants - MrBeast Burger: the Shrek Quesadilla which green tortilla with an imprinted image of the character.
The latest collaboration between the French influencer Léna Situations and the brand Adidas will be remembered and acclaimed for years to come. They co-created and designed 4 pairs of sneakers sold online and in Courir stores (between 110€ and 120€ per model). A first time collaborating with a French creator!
In fact, Léna Situations said on her YouTube channel, "They gave me the opportunity to choose every design, every color, every material." Almost beyond co-creation!
Co-creation has also been redefined in 2022: an increasing amount of TikTok creators are being spotted by online brands for their organic and spontaneous comments on their products. We remember Dogg Face going viral in late 2020 by skateboarding holding a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. The brand later provided him with a branded car and an unlimited supply of juice. More recently, Ella Watkins joined the network by creating skits where the Uno Reverse card would have an effect on the actual world. This trend enabled her to be featured on Uno’s official account. Designer Carly Joy became the centerpiece of a short-lived rebranding of Eos hair removal creams. After posting about an Eos product test, she praised the brand for its quality and even shared with her audience that they were essential to "bless your f@#!ing cooch". Eos took the influencer's exact words and proudly displayed them on their posts.
Thus, there is no doubt that collaborations between brands and influencers will continue to flourish in 2023, with even more influencer participation. Menus, hotel rooms, travel guides, snacks, or even car design, the possibilities are endless...
Trend #3: Influencers go beyond social networks...
Today’s influencers are actual digital natives. From creating Twitch & Instagram content to TikTok videos, influencers are powerful creative machines. But in 2023, influencers are going even further than just producing stories, Reels, and other Twitch content. They have been diversifying their touchpoints. They are now featured in TV commercials, in mainstream media and even press. French influencers McFly & Carlito, following their YouTube video shot at the Elysée Palace with the French President Emmanuel Macron, will soon appear in the latest "Asterix and Obelix - The Middle Kingdom" movie. Another example includes the release of a mobile app by YouTuber Raska. The app introduces a new party game called "Rap'Hero" where he creates all kinds of challenges related to rap-related knowledge and insights.
Brands are enhancing their collaborations with influencers, as genuine ways to connect with their audience. Louise from @MyBetterSelf, Léa from @jenesuispasjoli, Julie from @douzefevrier, and Caroline from @Fiftyyearsofawoman have been hired by Danone to become the brand’s ambassadors and protagonists of their new TV commercial "Light & Free" called #MonCherCorps. Through this campaign, the influencers were able to elaborate on their own experience with their bodies, their path to self acceptation, and their struggles. The ambassadors’ diversification in touchpoints, from social platforms to TV and cinema, is completely new. Until recently, the lucky few featured outside of social platforms were mostly mainstream personalities but today, the players are diversifying.
Also, and more recently, we could see Bastos appearing in the latest TV ad of Jules called "Influencer of a better fashion" where - even if he is not the main protagonist - he advises a young man wishing to become an influencer... and committed!
We also think of Léna Situations who launched her "Hôtel Mahfouf", a café restaurant and ephemeral boutique, or Clara Victorya and her boutique Relique, a vintage 70's thrift store. Beautiful places that have become very popular.
Finally, it is Squeezie and his first event with amazing results (+1 million viewers on Twitch), who created the Explorer Grand Prix. It is a Formula 4 exhibition race gathering 22 Internet personalities. The first edition was held on October 8, 2022 at the Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans. In order to make this unique experience happen, Squeezie has surrounded himself with many partners such as Fruitz, Nord VPN, Alpine or iGraal. Of course, it was an event broadcasted live on Twitch, but we're more interested in the organization of this major event by Squeezie and his team. Another string to his bow that he revealed to his community, making him the most powerful influencer in France. For the next edition 2023, could the operation be broadcast on the small screen to the general public in parallel to Twitch? It wouldn't be so surprising...
Trend #4: Keep the brief brief : Creators at the head of the collaborations
Influencer marketing has become a legitimate and viable marketing channel. Numerous brand partnerships could now be found across creators’ social media platforms. Spontaneous collaborations, ambassador programs, co-creations, contests, promotional codes... there is an overflow of "over-advertising" content that some socionauts are progressively pointing out. If users initially followed these creators to be inspired, oxygenated, and entertained, communities are increasingly getting tired of profiles that become, in their eyes, "advertising windows". Their brand collaborations are often inauthentic because they are guided by a disembodied, aggressive, and standardized speech imposed by the advertiser. This leaves the influencer very little creative leeway to adapt the main messages of the campaign to his or her editorial line.
Because brands are increasingly understanding the importance of influencers remaining authentic to their editorial lines, they are becoming less and less adamant about the specifications submitted to the talent and are letting them drive the ideation process. Audiences want content that reflects the uniqueness of the creator. Sponsored formats must be able to do the same and "melt" into the influencer's editorial line to best resonate with "ad-skeptic" diginauts.
In short, the goal today is to "make ads that don't look like ads". On the one hand, think of sponsored formats that would blend in with any other content from the influencer. On the other hand, to see the creator as a creative agency in its own right. Most of the collaborations seen on TikTok have perfectly taken this turn. We see more and more of their creators specializing in the absurd. Savannah Moss, the queen of "fever dream" montages on TikTok, has already collaborated with NYX Cosmetics, Huawei, MyProtein and Disney. More recently, she became a L'Oréal partner. To promote her Revitalift, she staged herself being sentenced to ten years in jail... in a spa... before having her skincare products stolen by a teddy bear (we told you, it doesn't make sense). On another note, Satine Walle, a profile specializing in humor and song, recently collaborated with Clark Influence to promote the benefits of the Auchan advantage card. In a short video that now has nearly 700,000 views, the creator came up with a short, catchy song to describe it.
YouTube entertainment talent has long relied on these authentic collaborations. Brands who choose to work with YouTube influencers let them express their creative concepts independently of the brand message in exchange for a short exposure during the video in question. Overall, we are witnessing an increasing amount of formats that are both empowering the advertiser and the content creator. Here, the product or brand to be advertised articulates the creative concept. For example, the influencer JOYCA discovers the functionalities of the Google Pixel smartphone by accepting certain challenges sent to him on the phone's Whatsapp. Another example includes StealTheSpotlight, a videographer specializing in fashion and "outfits inspired by" formats, who envision outfits inspired by the Rainbow High dolls sent by the brand.