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Influencer marketing in 2024: Where will it go and how to keep up with the trends?

Influencer marketing is an extremely fluid industry, inherently shaped by social media trends, influenced by celebrities and technological developments. Statista estimates that ad spend in the influencer market will reach $35.09 billion in 2024, and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 10% over the next four years. And influencer marketing is no stranger to brands in the Czech Republic. What can we expect from it in the next year?

AI everywhere you look
Artificial intelligence is a great tool that will make the job of agencies and influencers easier - if used wisely. On the agency side, AI can analyse the content an influencer shares, see if they're collaborating with a competitor brand, for example, if they're compromising brand safety, what topics the influencer is covering and what their audience is. And it does this in a fraction of the time it would take to do a careful manual evaluation. At WOO, we test it ourselves on a range of internal processes. AI can help influencers edit content, generate topics, come up with descriptions... but it's not a good idea to rely on it too much. If AI is missing anything so far, it's originality. And that's exactly what brands should expect from paid collaborations.

Micro, local, nano and niche a.k.a. size matters and less is sometimes more
Smaller influencers are increasingly attractive to big brands, for several reasons. They tend to have more engagement, i.e. a loyal and passionate audience, a narrower and more specific range of interests that allows for more precise targeting, and they are usually more trustworthy and authentic because - by and large - they don't promote just anyone. This can be seen on the Czech market as well. We know from our own experience that big names and celebrities have countless collaborations across segments, and it is all the more difficult then for a brand in their feed to stand out from the crowd.

Long-term partnerships are winning for brands and (quality!) influencers
Why? Because recommending has long been insufficient, we all know that. And a long-term collaboration between a brand and an influencer is not only more believable than a one-off recommendation, but it allows you to build a narrative within the collaboration, diversify the type of posts and information over time, and keep your audience's attention longer than a one-off promo post. It also looks much better for an influencer when they trust a product enough to talk about it repeatedly, rather than changing their preferences on a weekly basis. By the way, you can tell a quality creator at first glance by that too.

It pays to look beyond Instagram
Although Instagram is the most prominent influencer platform, it would be shortsighted not to look elsewhere. There is, of course, TikTok, whose audience is dominated by Gen Z and the rest is the 25-34 category. If you're targeting the usual 18-34 group, you're almost 100% certain to hit on TikTok. But there's still Facebook and people over 35. No, they really aren't extinct yet. And for brands looking to reach 40s and 50s, Facebook is still a very relevant platform. Besides, Meta and TikTok are still coming up with new monetization models for formats and opportunities for collaboration between creators and brands. These are nothing but additional ways to incentivize both parties to create advertising content and increase reach and conversions in the process. That's handy, isn't it?

Diversify goals and metrics
Influencer communications has long been more than just a tool to boost awareness. What we've been seeing for some time now, even in the Czech market, is the inclusion of influencers at different stages of the buying funnel and at different touchpoints. In practice, this means that a well-chosen influencer can also serve to boost sales and, most importantly, that an influencer is not something you can stick on to a finished campaign, but rather a supporting element. Our recommendation? Think about influencer engagement from the start, plan your campaign so that influencers have a clear place and function, and set expectations, goals and metrics based on that.

Video content is the king
Videos have long had higher engagement than static content, and the popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagarm Reels have contributed to their success. Video content is even preferred by search engines as it increases website traffic. But what type of videos to create? Generally, shorter formats lead the way, but if the content is interesting enough, viewers will watch longer videos, as evidenced by countless popular how-to's and tutorials, and catchy storytelling works too. In short, you have to have something to say. The chapter for itself is then the quality of the video. Authenticity, which is undoubtedly an absolutely crucial component of influencer communication, is inflected in all trend reports. But that doesn't mean that authentic = amateurish, or just plain ugly. As the industry evolves, the demands for quality increase and the output looks accordingly. Even with our clients, we see that nicer, more imaginative outputs usually show better numbers. Here you can see a few hilarious takeaways from last year:

What to take away from this? Collaborating with influencers can serve a brand very well, adding relevance and authenticity. But as the market evolves and grows, influencers need to be thought of in the context of other communications, planned well and measured well. And don't be afraid to react quickly at times and ride the wave of one of the moha trends. We're watching them for you.