Witnessing the evolution of the influencer marketing industry

by Thibault

The influencer marketing space started getting active around 10 years ago and it is amazing to see how quickly is has evolved and reinvented itself. I co-founded Capssion 3.5 years ago in Hong-Kong and have been in touch with influencers and brands wanting to work with them since then. We work here at Capssion with influencers from over 16 countries every day. Now more than ever, as we feel we are at a crossroad, I would like to take this opportunity to take a step back and share with all of you the changes in mindsets and practices that we have witnessed since we started this journey at Capssion.

1- Part of the Marketing Mix and here to stay

When we started getting brands on the Capssion platform back in 2018, we had to speak to brands one on one, often over several meetings, to convince them that influencer marketing was a necessary activity for their business to thrive. It was a very common practice for us to have to show case studies and influencer profiles to draw them in. Here we are now, in 2022, where it is unconceivable for most brands to not have an influencer marketing program. We stopped pitching brands, and they are now joining on a self-serve model. What’s even more impressive is that most brands are drafting their own campaigns without any supervision. The overall industry knowledge has simply gone up drastically.

Part of the Marketing Mix and here to stay

2- Allocated budgets and outcome-based campaigns

What’s even more impressive is that most brands have started to allocate a yearly budget to this activity, which wasn’t true 3 years ago: Over 80% of our campaigns were gifting campaigns where an influencer would not get paid to promote the brand. Over the last 3 months, 55% of the campaigns that are run on Capssion are financially rewarding the influencers that are applying to them. There are several reasons behind this change. Not only are influencers more busy and thus are more selective when it comes to selecting the brands they work with but also the ROI brands are getting out of these activities is no longer a stress point.

Brands are now asking influencers for more concrete actions to get the most from their collaborations such as an ecommerce Shop-in-shop follow, a genuine SKU review on the shopping destination, traffic generation via UTM links, App installs, sales affiliation via individual voucher codes, and so many more deliverables. Brands also understand more and more that there is an invisible value to be seen and assimilated with people that make or break trends.

Allocated budgets and outcome-based campaigns

3- Not only for Beauty and Fashion brands anymore

100% of our campaigns were dedicated to beauty or fashion brands/influencers 3 years ago. Because the content and the population of influencers on social media was dominated by these 2 categories, it was hard for brands that were not beauty or fashion brands to project themselves on campaigns that had never been done before. The space has changed, and influencers in category niches are proliferating: Moms, Yogis, Pet owners, Gamers, Foodies, Lifestyle bloggers, athletes. Even though they remain residual compared to Beauty and fashion campaigns, these other categories are truly making a name for themselves and showing that it is extremely relevant to have an active social media presence.

4- Increase in lifetime value of the content produced

It was customary for a campaign to end whenever the influencer had published his or her post on the social media channel selected for the campaign. It would sit in the brand’s digital gallery and when the brand felt it fitted their brand identity, be reposted on the brand’s own social media channel. Over the last 6 months, brands on Capssion have allocated 20% of their budgets to boost an influencer publication they love in order to reach more people with the right content. We have also noticed that purchasing commercial rights in order to reuse the content on the brand’s own website, a store front or even a SKU page is becoming common practice. This is an additional outcome that brands are increasingly looking out for.

Increase in lifetime value of the content produced

5- Creativity is back at the center

Every single brand we interacted with a couple of years ago would ask if it was possible for the influencers to submit their content before posting it on their social media channel. Brands felt like they were not in control and that the influencers could potentially harm the brand by not respecting the campaign brief. What used to be a seen as a requirement is now seen as a potential harm to authenticity. More and more campaigns are centered around letting the influencers create what they feel is appropriate for their community and what will appeal to them. Short-form video content and the rise of TikTok has for sure contributed to that change.

What’s for sure is that more and more brands are trusting influencers and their voice to carry out their brand values and identity. These are some of the changes that I have witnessed firsthand over the last few years. They make me truly excited to have a business in this space and what they could mean for the future of the industry.

CEO & co-founder of Capssion

Written by Thibault

Thibault is a cofounder of Capssion