2021 influencer trends you can’t afford to miss

We conducted an online survey of over 100 influencers with a reach of 10,000 to 100,000 followers on Instagram to answer the following questions: What are the biggest trends in influencer marketing this year? And how can they be used for campaigns in 2021?

This is going to be an exciting year for influencer marketing. There are many exciting developments on the horizon, both in terms of content and community.

Long-term cooperations and bonus models. 

The study revealed that many of the participating influencers (almost 50% of whom stated that they were full-time content creators) are currently striving for security and authenticity. Covid-19 and the change it bought to the digital world also — unsurprisingly — impacted the influencer industry last year. This is particularly revealed in the influencer’s desire for long-term cooperations and fixed remuneration. However, bonus models via variable payment scales with fixed partners are also quite conceivable for the majority of those surveyed. 

Above all, authenticity has become even more important to the majority of the influencers surveyed. For brands, this means both evaluating influencers in advance regarding brand fit and considering long-term collaborations. The respondents would like to enter into fewer affiliations but instead trust in long-term partners. 94% of the influencers surveyed expressed an interest in launching products with a brand within the framework of a long-term cooperation, and felt the collaboration would be beneficial for both sides. 

New focuses and stronger community ties.

In 2021, the impact of Covid-19 will continue to influence the content strategy of influencers. Due to the lack of travel opportunities, many of them have already been relying on home content since early 2020 — 83% of the respondents have not travelled in the last two months, and the remaining 17% have only travelled within their home country. 

As a result, the influencers’ lifestyle now more closely resembles that of their communities. This also makes the influencers appear as experts on everyday life who like to discuss, swap and offer daily (life) tips. More than 85% of those surveyed said that they are increasingly asked for advice and receive direct messages about personal topics, household tips and home decor questions. For brands, this means they can really develop and position influencers as experts for their brand. As specialists, influencers radiate competence above all and thus offer added value to their own community and the brand.

The majority of creators also engage in regular direct exchanges with their community, increasing their community loyalty from which brands can also benefit greatly.

Storytelling via moving images. 

One field that should be given more attention — especially after the lockdowns — is on-site shopping. Almost 40% of the respondents have taken their followers on shopping tours through fashion or furniture shops, and half of them have actively linked products.

The influencers continue to see the trend towards (short-form) video, which will also continue in 2021. More than that, the majority of them stated that moving images perform significantly better on their channels. Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are fuelling this development. 41% of the influencers surveyed use TikTok and 74% use Instagram Reels. The latter is predominantly used to build reach. It also shows that personal storytelling helps spread messages more effectively and further increases the connection between creator and community. 

Instagram Stories has established itself as the preferred storytelling format. Over 65% of the influencers surveyed said that Stories was their favourite format for storytelling, followed by Instagram Posts (16%) and YouTube videos (9%). Influencers no longer integrate their followers exclusively through competitions, surveys or Q&As, but also actively share their direct messages or Stories. Thus, the creators’ Instagram channel is a stage for both the influencer and their followers. This is an exciting insight for many brands: they now also receive information about their communities through the influencers.