The recent wave of branded influencer content has been well received by audiences too, according to Shareablee. Engagement with branded influencer posts more than doubled to 57.2 million total actions in July compared with March, rising five times faster than the posts themselves. That may either signal that increased social-media usage is driving increased engagement, or that people are just bored, says Shafeablee CEO Tania Yuki.
The rise in sponsored influencer posts comes even as overall influencer posts declined 12 percent from March to July and despite a seasonal lull in other brand posts the past two years during that period, Yuki says.
Data from CreatorIQ tells a similar story: After sponsored post volume fell almost 17 percent in March and another 6 percent in April, it’s been rising ever since through July, when it rebounded past February’s level.
“Things got quiet right around the middle to end of March, complete silence, didn’t hear anything from anyone,” says Melissa Rosenthal, co-founder at Circle, a content-focused SMS tech platform for brands and publishers and a former executive with Cheddar and global VP of creative at Buzzfeed. “Brands took a few weeks to figure out how to position themselves for a new world. Now I’m seeing probably 5 times the outreach I was seeing pre-pandemic. Small brands, large brands, new brands, everyone.”
Now, the pandemic is probably benefiting influencers, given that alternative media or opportunities like out-of-home and sporting events have declined, Rosenthal says. Plus, she says influencers can produce work from home studios that bigger production companies and content studios have trouble doing under pandemic restrictions.
“I think brands are starting to use influencers more to get at niches,” says Andres Echenique, CEO and co-founder of Perlu, a community for brands and influencers. He also believes brands are focusing more on the quality of audiences and the work influencers create rather than audience size, given the growing importance of their role as creators.
Clorox Co. is one marketer getting back into sponsored influencer work after an early pandemic hiatus, and despite swearing off paid or organic Facebook or Instagram marketing for the balance of this year, citing the polarized environment of the election cycle.
Through the Reach Agency, Clorox recently enlisted YouTube creators The Try Guys to subject themselves to some of the world’s smelliest foods to demonstrate the ability of new Fresh Step cat litter with Febreze Freshness and Gain Scent to cover up horrible