The extraordinary events of 2020 have had a major impact, not only on the influencer marketing industry but all global functions.

The pandemic has ramped up the level of competition that many brands now face in order to engage, win and retain customers. Coupled with a time where social media platforms are overly saturated with paid media and savvy consumers knowing when they are being sold to, brands urgently need to diversify how they acquire and retain their customers.  

We have seen marketers struggling with the inadequate financial resources and the tools needed to reach and work with people of influence. That is why we have seen a rise in authentic and organic partnerships and just how impactful they can be, in comparison to paid collaborations. Transparency and authenticity have never been more important in the way brands work with influencers, and we are now not alone in seeing the true value brand advocates bring to brands. 

Across our platform we have seen trends shift in terms of our most sought-after categories and most popular campaigns, with many of our newest brands being within these emerging categories of innovation. Businesses have been forced to pivot and find new ways to succeed in both the short and long term. Many have adapted their business models and extended their operations to help those affected and overcome the challenges faced. An increase in delivery services, online streaming, home DIY kits and the use of gift cards have allowed businesses to keep afloat, and with the help of true brand advocates they assisted brands in generating significant awareness around these services.  

The true value and power of authenticity in influencer marketing can be shown through a boost in ROI, higher EMV and greater volume of content. Working with people who have a genuine love for your brand eliminates the cost of paying an influencer per post. Collaborating with these brand lovers who genuinely want to advocate on your behalf are more likely to create multiple pieces of quality content over paid sponsorship. 

With consumers no longer buying into the products they know influencers are being paid to talk about, brands have seen a decrease in organic reach on paid social sites and a much lower return on investment. They are demanding more genuine and real content, and from people who truly love the products they are talking about. That is why the faster brands realise the true value of advocacy, the quicker they are to start to see real results. 

To find out more about how advocacy is over taking the influencer marketing industry, and how brands like Mars, HelloFresh and Olay have successfully adapted this model, download the full report here.