By: Melis Ertem, Managing Director, MEA and Turkey, MMA Global

The influencer marketing landscape is gearing up for growth. New innovations and trends are reshaping the way brands connect with their audiences and changing how influencers leverage their audience. The most significant shifts set to impact in 2024  include the rise of AI technology, the impact of nano influencers and reprioritising marketing budgets. 

What do these three trends mean for marketers? How will they impact brand marketing? And what do marketers need to consider when considering influencers as part of their strategy?

Influencers using AI 

It’s no secret that AI technology is rapidly transforming the way influencers create content and engage with their followers. On one level, there is the ability to streamline and enhance content creation, analyse audience preferences and optimise their social media presence.

However, next level AI is having a major impact in the form of virtual influencers. These computer-generated personalities exist on social media platforms in the same way as human profiles. AI image generators such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion allow anyone to produce fabricated lives and engage with fans as if they’re actual internet personalities. AI startup, 1337 (pronounced Leet) is building a community of AI-driven micro-influencers to engage with niche communities. Having secured $4 million pre-seed funding in October last year, 1377 is one piece of a larger digital human economy that Gartner predicts will become a $125-billion market by 2035.

AI tools offer incredible potential for enhancing efficiency but marketers need to consider authenticity and how suitable influencers are for their brand, especially in the context of virtual influencers.

The power of nano and micro influencers

Brands seeking to cut through the noise and connect with audiences on a deeper level are looking at hyperlocal and niche influencer campaigns.  

According to Statista, nano influencers (with 1,000-10,000 followers) make up 65.39% of Instagram influencer accounts. Micro-influencers (between 10,000 and 100,000 followers) are the second most popular group making up 27.73% of influencer accounts. By partnering with influencers who have a strong connection to specific communities or interests, brands can deliver more personalised and relevant content that resonates with their target audience. Oberlo research revealed that 80.8% of marketers plan to use Instagram for influencer marketing in 2024

For marketers, it is important to focus on quality over quantity. Brands can leverage the power of niche influencers to drive higher levels of engagement and loyalty among their audience.

Influencer ROI

Statista reported that during 2023, global influencer marketing spending reached 34.08 billion, while in the U.S. it amounted to 26.09 billion dollars. On top of that, some organisations claim to spend between 10% to 20% of their annual marketing budget on influencer marketing. This is a serious investment and naturally brands need to track ROI effectively. 

Personally, influencer marketing measurement needs to go beyond likes and views. Brands must leverage advanced analytics to track audience engagement and sales performance accurately. Consumer brands need to look at deep insights into their audiences behaviour, and track video watch times and click-through rates. 

Solid metrics will become increasingly essential for brands looking to maximise the ROI of their influencer marketing efforts.

The future of influencer marketing 

Whether it’s leveraging AI technology, embracing hyperlocal campaigns or fostering long-term collaborations, the influencer landscape holds lots of opportunities. Influencers have much to offer brands and iif marketers remain agile and adaptable to change, there is an exciting future ahead. I encourage anyone who is considering influencer marketing to take a strategic approach. Stay connected and responsive in order to be successful.