Influencer Marketing in the Times of COVID-19
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The coronavirus COVID-19 which is taken the form of a worldwide pandemic is the most recently discovered type of this virus. The COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has since then spread like wildfire, affecting every continent in the world and resulting in a global lockdown. The latest COVID-19 threat comes in the form of asymptomatic spreading, which means that even people displaying no symptoms of infection have been seen to transmit the virus.
These findings along with the constant threat of infection have resulted in entire countries of people locking themselves away at home for over a month now. Global lockdown and factory shutdowns have taken their toll on the global economy, as is evident from this International Monetary Fund (IMF) report. A grave economic recession is predicted to be upon us very soon as the IMF predicts global growth to fall to -3% in 2020.
Change in consumption patterns
The coronavirus pandemic has made employment and remuneration uncertain for people across all industries. This study by Visual Capitalist has shown a drop in the purchase of non-essentials such as electronic gadgets and clothes. Demand for medical supplies, canned foods, and essential pantry products has shot up. The demand for disposable gloves has shot by 670%. The pandemic has brought out a tendency to hoard, which reflects in the drastic rise in demand.
Online retail sales are expected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023 as the majority of consumers are moving over from physical retail stores to e-commerce websites. According to this study by IZEA Media, 82% of consumers are willing to try a new brand now, since they now have the time to research costs and benefits. Respondents said they were most likely to purchase groceries, coffee, and takeaway food through pickup services and home delivery. Comfort clothing has also overtaken the demand for non-essential clothes.
The landscape of retail is bound to change for quite some time. This study shows that only 4.5% of US consumers claim they will have the confidence to spend on retail goods post-lockdown. The travel and apparel industries are expected to take the worst hit.
How the influencer industry has been hit
As people find themselves confined at home, engagement rates on social media have shot up during the period of the lockdown. Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram have seen a considerable boom in traffic. Social media consumption is expected to rise significantly during this period, which means influencers have the opportunity to capture the attention of audiences at this time.
This study conducted by IZEA Media found that influencer marketing should survive, and even thrive, through the pandemic and following the recession. 73% of social media users said they use Instagram and Youtube to discover, research, and explore products before purchasing. Obviously, an influencer marketing agency, found that 33% of brands are looking to hire influencers to create their online content. There has also been a 40% of as performance on influencer created advertisements.
Unlike traditional advertising, influencer content tends to have the human touch that people crave during these difficult times. Health and wellness, entertainment, and streaming education have been seen to trend the most. A 76% boost has been seen in likes on sponsored posts on Instagram over the past few weeks, according to this report by Obviously.
Video has always been the best way to draw in consumers. Videos have become all the more effective in the present context. Obviously suggests this time to be ideal for experimenting with newer video platforms and video-based modes of campaigning. TikTok engagements have risen by 27% through March 2020. Health and fitness, home care, and cooking show the highest engagement rates at this time. People are more receptive to new content now than ever before to get their minds off the dire times. Videos provide the ultimate distraction.
Influencer Marketing is one of the few industries that holds potential to grow even in such a hostile business environment. Brands would pay endlessly to influencers to use their products and services, asking them to exhibit the same on the social media. This would help brands to gain the trust of its users back — in terms of safety and hygiene. We hope that influencer industry flourishes and help other brands recover too. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.