For marketers, 2021 was a year of growth and reckoning. We emerged from the challenges of 2020 with a bit more understanding and focus, and an eagerness to adapt. With 2022 on the horizon, we're not letting that momentum wane. Before we celebrate the new year though, we couldn’t help but look back at all the lessons we’ve learned in 2021. Fueled by consumers’ expanding adoption of digital behaviors, we turned to new tactics like performance marketing while striving to continue long-term brand building for a stronger, lasting connection to our audiences. From a deeper look at data and social listening to the increased use of influencer marketing, here are some of Hart’s top takeaways from our own agency experts this past year.
The pandemic has created an uptick in social media activity, with 32% of polled social users in the United States reporting an increase in their social media activity. This added activity and attention have put pressure on brands to deliver value to followers. With the need for brand authenticity and the rise in socially conscious spending, brands are trusting the guidance of influencers for their products. In fact, 63% of consumers trust influencer opinions more than testimony from the brand itself and 58% of consumers have purchased products because of an influencer's recommendation.
Influencer marketing is not a trend; rather, a sign of a greater shift in the priorities of consumers and the direction of marketing campaigns. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, this market is expected to grow in size from $9.7 billion in 2020 to $13.8 billion in 2021.
Ideally, the use of an influencer should be symbiotic for companies and consumers. The companies create brand awareness and extend their reach while consumers gain trustworthy and knowledgeable information about a service or product. Utilizing an influencer research tool like Upfluence can identify the saturation of influencers (i.e., how many other brands are actively linked with that individual), as well as other factors like message/imagery engagement.
When assessing successful marketing, the strategies associated with influencer relations and activations cannot be ignored. Recently, Hart Copywriter, Social Media & Content, Caeli Barnes moderated a sit-down with Associate Creative Director Jeff Payden, Senior Account Executive JoAnna Sorosiak and Senior Strategist Sam Williams to discuss and gain perspective into the world of influencers and their role in advertising.
Across this country, businesses are all facing a new wave of challenges with a familiar resolve. Breaking through noise to remain relevant is incredibly challenging, but also rewarding. Consumers are evolving quickly: fragmentation is increasing at a rapid pace, and trends are hard to discern from shorter-term fads. We have a tremendous opportunity to make the connection between brands and their changing consumer, using data to listen to the moment.
Cleaning, or taking account of our actions over the past six months, feels like a chore that we keep pushing off. After all, we all jumped feet first into COVID’s impacts and managed each wrinkle with the precision of a ninja and the comfort of a fleece blanket. At least after the initial shock wore off!