It’s that time of year: our fourth annual Influencer Marketing Trends Report is here! We’re back with another report capturing insights from hundreds of brands, agencies, and creators. And what a year it’s been.
We went from the dominance of Reels on Instagram to carousels getting back in the game. Twitter became X, and Instagram launched Threads. Commerce swooped over TikTok. And we can't forget about the space’s hottest new player, YouTube Shorts.
What changes over the past year affected marketers—from decision makers (who comprised 39% of organization respondents) down to the end user (17%)? Which influencer marketing strategies proved most effective?
You can check out the Influencer Marketing Trends Report for all this information and more. But we know you’re busy, so here are some takeaways you can chew on:
Digital Ads With Creators Lead the Charge
We’re in an era of information overload. This means that it's that much harder to create content that reaches consumers. While we can’t knock the commercials that gave us the tunes we still remember decades later (thinking of you, Oscar Mayer), more and more brands are finding that traditional ads aren't packing the same punch they once did.
According to our Influencer Marketing Trends Report, a robust 66% of brands discovered that content featuring creators delivered a more substantial return on investment compared to conventional digital ads. This revelation underscores that today's audiences value authentic, relatable content over standardized advertisements—though there are use cases for both types of content.
It's not news that creator content outperforms traditional advertisements, but in the past year, 40% of brands have experienced a YoY increase in traditional advertising costs. Meanwhile, the content production costs associated with creator content is more or less at an equilibrium, with 55% of brands reporting that costs stayed the same YoY. If you could get more bang for your buck, why wouldn’t you?
Instagram Delivers 2x the ROI of Other Social Media Platforms
At CreatorIQ, we love all social platforms, and try not to pick our favorite children—we let survey respondents do that for us. This year, 62% of organizations selected Instagram as the most integral social media platform for their creator marketing programs. Furthermore, 60% reported that Instagram drove the most ROI. While Instagram still holds its crown as a social media darling, TikTok and YouTube dominated responses when marketers were asked what trends to expect in 2024. In particular, TikTok was the primary creator marketing platform for 28% of the brands and agencies we surveyed.
Brand Awareness Is Having A Moment
Historically, conversion rates were the gold standard for assessing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. However, we're seeing brands take a more holistic approach when calculating ROI. In a surprising shift, brands appeared to pivot their focus from pure conversion metrics to broader brand awareness goals. When asked about their top objectives, brands were three times more likely to write in "brand awareness" than "conversion." This transition underscores a broader industry realization: long-term engagement and building a loyal brand reputation can lead to more sustained and organic growth (and conversion). However, the challenge of quantifying awareness persists, and brands need to get creative in how they measure and evaluate these softer metrics (may I introduce you to my dear friend Earned Media Value).
Inadequate Budgets Remain Top Challenge for Brands
The prominence of creator marketing hasn't come without obstacles. One challenge has stayed consistent over the four years that we've conducted this survey: inadequate budgets. For the second consecutive year, brands identified insufficient budgets as the No. 1 hurdle preventing them from fully capitalizing on influencer marketing's potential. Even as creator marketing budgets and teams have steadily increased, the resources allocated to creator marketing haven’t kept pace with the growth of the industry.
2024 Trends To Watch
TikTok Dominates: Brands anticipate TikTok's updates, like Anchor Links and live shopping, will offer more direct attribution opportunities.
YouTube Shorts Gaining Momentum: As short-form content remains a favorite, YouTube Shorts is predicted to gain traction, especially in Europe.
AI's Growing Role: Artificial Intelligence isn’t just a buzzword: 66% of marketers have already adopted AI, using it for tasks like social media captions and brainstorming.
User-Generated Content (UGC) Soars: With UGC's increasing popularity, brands predict a resurgence of authentic, unpolished content. Although UGC has seen consistent growth, with 62% of brands and 48% of agencies reporting a YoY increase, its significance is expected to be even more pronounced in 2024.
These are just a few of the data-backed takeaways from our extensive Influencer Marketing Trends Report. Want to learn more?