Five Ways COVID19 has Changed Influencer Marketing

March 27, 2020

In the wake of the upheaval caused by coronavirus, marketers, brands, and influencers alike have all taken swift action, revising strategies to match the moment we’re in. Though there’s still a great deal of uncertainty, we’re seeing trends emerge that are guideposts for smart and situationally sensitive strategies in the influencer marketing space. After surveying hundreds of influencers, analyzing millions of data points, and spending countless hours on the phone, here’s how we’re navigating influencer marketing right now.

Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash


1. Influencers are stepping up as content creators  

With production and creative agencies temporarily shuttered, Obviously has seen a 33% increase in the number of brands turning to influencers to create their photo and video assets. Influencers have always offered beautiful, high-quality editorial content at a fraction of the cost, but now that it’s imperative, brands are frequently hiring influencers to make the content that powers the brand’s whole marketing mix. Many Obviously clients see a creative cost reduction of over 50% when working with influencers in this context. There’s often an added bonus for the brand, too; influencers tend to post the work organically for additional - and authentic - brand awareness.

“Obviously has seen a 33% increase in the number of brands turning to influencers to create their photo and video assets.”    


Photo: @createcultivate
Photo: @createcultivate


2. Campaigns for the collective good are important

In our survey of over 1,000 influencers, 80% said they would participate in a charitable campaign for no compensation and 97% said they generally would post about a business or cause they care about. We also heard overwhelmingly that influencers are loving the proliferation of community content - challenges, live streaming, online classes and concerts, and PSAs - and are eager to work with brands and other influencers who are seeking ways to emphasize the collective good right now.

Mustard and Olive Chic Lifestyle Blogger Quote Social Media Graphics.png


Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash


3. Content has changed for the long haul

High-quality video content and live content are going to become even more important in the months ahead. We already knew video was performing better across social media platforms before the pandemic, but now that everyone’s going online to interact, we’re seeing an explosion of live streaming, tutorials, and other video content: 87% of influencers are creating Instagram stories, 24% are making more content for IGTV or YouTube, 24% have joined TikTok, and 23% are starting to host their own live streams. Our data also shows that engagement on campaigns is shooting up, with impressions increasing 22% in Q1 2020 over Q4 2019.  

Photos: @itsbritneynicole_

4. TikTok is here to stay

Speaking of video content - 67% of those surveyed reported creating or consuming TikTok content right now, with many saying the sense of community and support on TikTok is unrivaled. People said they loved learning dances, seeing families create quarantine content together, and the comedic relief provided by the app. We saw engagement increase 27% on TikTok from February to March 2020, and the app is widely seen as a feel good platform where people can turn at a time when the news is particularly grim.

     “24% of Instagram influencers are launching their TikTok accounts because of the confines of quarantine. ”                        

Photo: @robinnyc
Photo: @robinnyc


5. Health and wellness are no longer confined to a single vertical

Everyone is seeking balance and wellness right now, and influencers across verticals are leading the charge. A staggering 72% of influencers are using social media for fitness and wellness right now. Between streaming workouts and apps for exercise and fitness, nutrition, meditation, and mental health, content related to wellness is critical, and 56% of influencers say they are creating this type of content, even those who previously focused on other types of content. Influencers are also being more open about sharing anxiety remedies and how they’re coping with their followers, with many in our network saying that they’ve started hosting Instagram live Q&As for their communities.  

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