The influencer marketing industry has certainly seen many changes in the last couple of years, some that we predicted and some that surprised even the most seasoned IM expert. There is absolutely no denying that influencers have become an integral part of every marketing campaign, but as the industry grows in the region and as more regulations come into play, things are bound to change once again, hopefully for the better. 

Here are my 2023 predictions for the influencer marketing landscape: 

1- Long-term partnerships are the way forward

While most campaign planning is done on a tactical level for influencer marketing, influencers themselves are now seeking long term partnerships where they can develop a relationship with both a brand and their audience, creating a more authentic approach that drives advocacy. For brands this means more strategic planning for always-on programs vs tactical campaigns, where they can utilize influencers throughout their annual communications. It’s not to say that we won’t still see one off collaborations across the year, but I predict in 2023 brands will want to narrow down on the quantity of influencers they engage and focus on nurturing the relationships they have with selected influencers. 

2- More regulations for influencers in the region

While the UAE’s national media council  introduced influencer licensing back in 2018, the rest of the region has been slow to follow. However with KSA launching strict new licensing requirements this year,  we may see this change across GCC and MENA markets in 2023. This will mean brands will have to be more wary during influencer discovery, to ensure that influencers they collaborate with are fully licensed (to avoid those rumored fines).  And we may also see this lead to stricter requirements for disclosing partnerships, either using hashtags or platform features to ensure end consumers are made aware of paid collaborations. 

3- *Video* content is king!

This is not so much a prediction as it is a fact. With engagement rates continuing to drop due to platform algorithms, one format has proven it can still break through to ensure audience engagement. Video formats are a must in every influencer marketing campaign. In 2023, we will see this trend grow even more and brands may need to loosen the reins allowing influencers to bring their own creativity to the table to ensure videos are even more organic and engaging.

4- TikTok won’t be just for Gen-Z

A lot of brands are yet to venture into TikTok for their influencer campaigns, viewing the platform as a space for younger audiences, where their brands & products would not fit. However, we will see a rise in the use of this platform in IM in 2023, as the platform reports 36% of users are above 30. When it comes to targeting Gen-Z, TikTok has positioned itself not only as their platform of choice for entertainment but also for search, so it’s even more crucial to ensure brand presence and the easiest way for a brand to enter the world of TikTok is through influencers. I believe in 2023 we will see more brands explore ways to integrate with the nature of the content on the platform, while maintaining brand identity.

5- Brands will make more use of IGC

Historically, influencer generated content (IGC) has been widely used for brand owned social media channels, either through simple reposting or boosting the content to engage a wider audience set. In 2023 we may see an increase in a more 360 approach to utilizing this content across channels. What impact would this have?  For brands, this means authentic visuals they can repurpose across touchpoints which are more likely to resonate with their audiences, however it will also impact campaign budgets as influencers are much more likely to charge for content and attribute usage rights if content is used in other forms of media.