Why the COVID-19 crisis has elevated influencer marketing

Influencer marketing as a channel has been transformed by the crisis as consumers have turned to digital and social channels in their homes to connect. We investigate


It was 12 March 2020 when Elma Beganovich saw the world suddenly change. As co-founder and chief operating officer at New York-based influencer-led digital marketing agency, Amra & Elma, she had been monitoring rising concern regarding the COVID-19 health crisis among the global influencer community and their followers.

“12 March was the beginning of it all,” she says. “A lot of clients put campaigns on pause because of the uncertainty, not only from COVID but because of the pollical situation with protests.”

But while many brands put a pause on spending, what followed has been something of a coming of age for the influencer marketing category. Improved metrics, codes of practice, and the growing realisation across brands that they need to connect with customers in new and more intimate ways has led to a resurgence in some categories of influencer marketing and a broadening of the range of brands using it.

Influencer marketing has also received a boost thanks to lockdown laws forcing people to spend more time at home, where they have been interacting with digital services. Coupled that with the decision of some brands to pull spending from Facebook over its handling of hate speech, and it means brands continuing to spend are willing to explore new channels.

So while COVID-19 might have put paid to glamorous fashion influencers posting selfies from far-flung destinations, it has also shown promoting loungewear from your living room is a viable means of reaching a market.

The influencer growth opportunity

“The estimate initially was a 40 per cent drop in revenue, but it was contracts paused, not cancelled,” Beganovich tells CMO. “Brands are always looking to target different demographics in different regions, and they are able to do that very conveniently with influencers.”

One of the biggest growth areas has been in the newly-minted stay-at-home economy, which has pushed more consumers into online shopping.

“Influencers who were traditionally travel influencers or fashion influencers that depended on travelling to different destinations and going to events to make content for their followers all of a sudden found that taken away,” Beganovich says.

“What the influencers were forced to do was look around their home and ask what their followers were feeling right now and what were they thinking. They started producing content like stay-at-home workout sessions. Influencers who had never baked or cooked were suddenly giving recipes, and for fashion, they shifted to loungewear and how to prep for your Zoom meetings with your colleagues.”

The rush to ecommerce brought on by lockdowns also created fertile territory for influencers who could educate baby boomers about online shopping, and for brands wanting to promote new or existing direct-to-consumer services more broadly.

“We are seeing different opportunities open up, but in specific industries, and for others we have seen them contracting,” Beganovich continues. “With the fashion industry, there has been an increase in loungewear, but they have definitely pushed back and paused, and it has been a quite tough time for them. It is a complicated time. But at the same time, what has been true in the marketing world is always to be creative.”

Switching channels

According to CEO at Australia-based influencer marketing service provider Hypetap, Detch Singh, many influencers have benefitted from brands moving their speeding away from offline channels during the pandemic.

“In terms of COVID-19 and the lockdown, we have seen an increase in activity and influencer marketing, and more broadly when speaking to others, social has seen an increase,” Singh says. “While some advertisers have been holding spend in general due to the uncertainly of the climate, others are reallocating some of their spend from other media. More time and eyeballs were on social, and some of the really smart marketers recognised that and reallocated towards social and influencer marketing.”

The fact that influencers can also create content quickly on their own has also proven highly beneficial to the channel.

“With lockdown and distancing laws you weren’t able to get production teams out to shoot premium content, but influencers were able to shoot it on their own,” he says.

Up next: How new codes of conduct, social measurements and purpose are impacting the influencer marketing channel

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch Marketing Council Episode 3: Launching in the technology sector

Our multi-part video series, Ready to Launch, is focused on unlocking the secrets of launching brands, products and services by exploring real-life examples from Australia’s marketing elite. The series is being produced as part of the Launch Marketing Council initiative by CMO in conjunction with independent agency, Five by Five Global.

More Videos

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Time is of the essence, especially for customer service teams. With chatbots, you can interact and assist customers at a larger scale, al...

Jai

Triple-digit customer database growth, personalised engagement become reality for Stone & Wood

Read more

Hey Emilie - great read, and I particularly liked the section on the pressure of having brand purpose/Gen Z spending habits. It's great t...

Chris Thomas

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

Blog Posts

How the CMO can get the board on the customer’s side

For some CMOs, it’s easy to feel alone in the undying quest to better serve the customer. At times, it feels like the marketing department and the boards are speaking a different language, with one side trying to serve the customer, and the other side more focused on the shareholders and financials.

Jeff Cooper

CMO and board, Business Excellence Australia

The Secret Ingredients of a CX-Led Company Culture

When I talk to organisations around the world about their customer experience strategy, it is often the CMOs and their marketing teams who take the lead. They’re keen to improve the ways they attract and engage customers, and they want to understand the technologies that can help them make their customer experience truly outstanding.

Steven van Belleghem

Author, CX expert

The Future Of Social Is Joyful, Pass It On

2019 was a horror year for social media. But in 2020 something different emerged that has shifted the tone, format and intent of the medium. A new social vibe born out of the pandemic and fuelled by the emergence of a platform tailor made for the next generation of consumers.

Dan Young

Managing director, Pulse

Sign in