Influencer Marketing has been around since before the dawn of Social Media where brands used broadcast media like TV, radio and billboards to leverage celebrity for product endorsements to influence people. 

The rise and growth of Influencer Marketing as shown by the Google Search Trends chart below has come about from a number of factors which include but are not limited to; brands struggling to reach and engage with audiences; the shift in consumer focus from traditional mediums to more engaging digital and social platforms; ad-blocking technologies on traditional digital channels and most recently the death of the cookie.

And so 5 years on from the rise of Influencer marketing as a channel, what are the top 5 trends we can expect to see for the year ahead:

  • The Rise Of The Nano Influencer

As platforms to search and discover influencers have become widespread, and consumer social feeds have become rich with sponsored posts from influencers, it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive for brands to reach and engage with the right audiences through traditional macro influencers. Given that the smaller the following, the higher the engagement rate (for prominent influencer platforms), spend is shifting to micro and nano influencers whose niche, highly engaged audiences provide better return on spend for marketers. The challenge here is how to select, execute and manage the large number of nano influencers required to reach large enough audiences. 


With the correct tool and execution, finding the sweet spot between the right audience, the right reach and engagement, means that ad spend will shift towards the left of the chart above into the pockets of the smaller micro and nano influencers.

  • PPP – Performance, Performance Performance

The shift from Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) to Pay Per Performance (Click, Lead, Sale, Install) as seen in the early days of digital advertising is now catching up with this fledgling channel of Influencer Marketing. Established brands in established regions are moving away from spending in the upper part of the funnel and taking risk while influencers earn from merely posting content to reach their audience with no guarantee on return. We are therefore seeing a shift in certain market segments to a Cost Per Click or Sale model, (or mix of the two) where both the influencer and brand share in the risk and the upside. Instagram already has a tool in place to leverage the shift of ad spend to the lower end of the funnel.

  • Social Ads & Influencer Marketing Merge

We do know that authentic and relevant content consumed by engaged audiences is what digital consumers prefer. This means that the fusion of nano with the powerful performance tools already available on social networks will produce a new trend and increase spend on both Influencer Marketing and Social Platforms. We are already seeing new tools emerge on the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok to leverage this trend which will fuel growth in the industry and capture more share of digital ad spend.

  • Influencer Strategy & Execution Above All

If you have ever tried to run an Influencer campaign you will know that it is no easy feat. The process is tedious, time consuming and not very efficient. Even with the best tools, without the correct strategy and execution your campaign will fall flat and leave you unlikely to try it again any time soon. For this reason specialist Influencer Marketing agencies and new roles within existing agencies will become mainstream. We are seeing a worldwide trend whereby traditional PR firms are opening up dedicated departments and roles for Influencer Marketing.

  • Creator Marketplace Enables Mainstream Sponsored Posts

Whether a lack of regulation is at play or the realisation of the major social platforms that there is a place for Influencer Marketing, we will see tools become more accessible that enable brands to connect with and pay influencers on some of the biggest social networks. Facebook and Tik Tok are already testing on their platforms, and in line with the trends above are poised to take more share of ad spend away from traditional media channels.

As we launch into the new decade almost 20 years on from some of the earliest social networks,  these are the defining trends in Influencer Marketing for 2020 that will propel the industry to over 10 Billion Dollars in ad spend within the next two years, and entrench Influencer Marketing as the fastest growing advertising channel – set to dominate ad spend over the next decade.