2021 Influencer Marketing Trends | Popular Pays

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2021 Influencer Marketing Trends

by Kayla Mueller | 3 weeks ago

@Vince_dominguez for Google Photos

Take a look at our point of view on 2021 influencer trends written by our Creative Strategist, Kayla Mueller.

“You’re on mute.” But seriously, unprecedented times. Say it one. More. Time. 2020 was unlike anything we’ve ever seen or experienced. We were bored in a house and we were in a house bored (enter Peloton). We binge watched Tiger King (maybe several times…) and made up TikTok dances about Carol Baskin. We closed deals in leggings and our kitchens became our new conference rooms. We had some fun with zoom filters (the jello platter face was a fan favorite) and our new doggos and energetic toddlers became our new coworkers. We celebrated important milestones together and supported small businesses and nonprofits. Most importantly, we reflected, we listened and we joined important global conversations individually and as collectively as a company.

We recognized that advertising was in the spotlight with many connecting digitally throughout isolation during quarantine and media consumption skyrocketed. According to a recent report from Nielsen, media consumption has increased 60% due to COVID-19 and home confinement during March, 2020. Given already high screen time hours, this increase is significant. We shifted to provide the best possible solutions for our brands and partners. We wanted to predict influencer marketing trends as we look to 2021.

Popular Pays 2021 influencer marketing predictions for the new year:

1.  Brands will continue to celebrate and champion diversity
2.  eCommerce will soar
3.  Branded partnerships will spike
4.  Ambassador programs will increase in relevancy
5.  A No-Edit format will evolve
6.  Software will scale production

Brands will continue to celebrate and champion diversity: Representation will remain at the forefront of advertising initiatives across all industries. It’s been heartening to watch people learn, evolve and have honest conversations. We haven’t solved the problem yet but now more people understand there is one. In addition, people seem to be more cognizant of not only who they follow on their social handles, but how brands respond authentically to the need for representation, far beyond just race. For 2021 trends, we also predict the need for segmentation so teams can identify the correct creators for authentic influencer partnerships.

Accelerated eCommerce adoption: Many of America’s top retailers filed for bankruptcy during the covid-19 outbreak, only increasing the pressure on traditional retailers with large physical footprints. According to an Adobe report, total online spending in May 2020 hit $82.5 billion, up 77% year-over-year. This has accelerated eCommerce transaction levels approximately 5 years ahead of past estimates since previous years had growth rates in the low teens.

Although we expect a lot of things to revert back to pre-pandemic levels as vaccines roll out, we believe a new baseline has been set for eCommerce with wide-ranging effects spanning food delivery to consumer goods, leading to a new abnormal as many are calling it.”
– Corbett Drummey, Co-Founder and CEO

Globally, we will see a dramatic spike in the number of individuals who participate in branded partnerships: As a result of Covid-19, some individuals are considering branded partnerships who may not have otherwise. Some may have been laid off and are looking for side hustles or perhaps have extra time around the house. Even with sport seasons changing as a result of the virus, many athletes are finding themselves looking for more branded partnerships than ever. They need guidance into learning when and how to work with brands, for example, even navigating what their rates should be.

Ambassador programs will increase in relevancy: Ambassadors have been around prior to influencer marketing, but given the increased demands for brands to reach consumers digitally, brands must cut through the clutter. In order to increase brand recall and develop true authentic testimonials, it’s helpful to activate a team of all-star creators to develop and share content over the course of several months or even a year. Our extensive search tool can even help your team identify creators who are already advocating for your brand, so perhaps you can partner with them for your next campaign or even ship them free products in exchange for content or social posts.

In 2021, brands will focus on those strong, longer lasting partnerships with influencers who have real connections with their followers and encourage real conversations.”
– Sara Paull, Senior Director of Client Partnerships

Rit Dye has successfully activated a year-long ambassador program with a team of their favorite Popular Pays creators. Check out this shot created by @Melodrama for Rit-Dye.

A No-Edit format will evolve: With the rise of platforms like TikTok, and even Instagram Reels, we’ve seen that authentic real-life content often outperforms perfect and polished product shots. People had a lot of fun with branded content in 2020, and we only see that expanding into the new year regarding 2021 influencer trends. The key to success here is brands truly allowing creators to create without limits, allowing them to create without restraint. After all, they are the experts.

I’m finding that with TikTok, IG Reels and YouTube, a non-curated approach has been the best course for brands looking to gain virality. Specifically on TikTok, the brand videos I’ve seen gone viral have all been very raw and non ‘ad’ like. I would urge brands to get out of their comfort zone a bit on that platform and leave it open to the creator to know what works best.”
– Rachel Pollard, Senior Client Success Manager

Software will scale production: It’s no secret, but with huge production shoots cancelled, brands are learning that they not only can survive without them, but they can drive efficiencies by leaning into software instead. Small brands, agencies and even large global brands are finding that by utilizing software they are able to plan and collaborate at scale, and we’ve found that the results are better than ever. Digital is taking charge of the future of retail, and content and influencers are at the forefront of the movement.

Fifteen Popular Pays creators collaborated with Jack Daniels to make social distancing, social. Check out the final video here.

After some time safely celebrating the holidays with our quarantine crews (enter Hype house), we are ready to roll up our sleeves. Popular Pays says bring it on, 2021. We are so grateful for you to be alongside our journey and are excited for what’s ahead. Thanks for checking out these 2021 trends. What are your predictions for influencer marketing in 2021?


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