Influencers marketing has brought one of the biggest changes to marketing in the last decade. Less than 10 years ago, Instagram launched and created the most commonly used platform for influencer marketing. Many successful companies have been built on it and of course, who can forget the Fyre Festival, probably the best example of what influencer marketing can do. With the rise of online shopping and DTC brands, making online money has never been easier. The non 9–5 life and the ability to always look good has been enticing for many. Adding followers and having the ability to work with brands at your discretion sure seems like the perfect lifestyle. Hordes of people joined the influencer game over the years creating many levels to it, with micro-influencers being a large segment as well.
People battled on platforms like YouTube and Instagram for views, likes, and overall popularity. The social hierarchy game that these platforms created have changed social rules forever. The sad thing is, these platforms get to control royalty payments, engagement, and censor content at will. With so much control and constant pressure to create content, many influencers are feeling the burnout.
These may be problems that influencers are feeling in general, but the real trouble is going to come during the next recession.
The following industries are the ones that profit the most from influencer marketing. They’re also the companies most affected by a recession since most of their revenue comes from a consumer’s discretionary budget.
Initially, I believed influencers with 50,000 or more followers should be safe from an economic downturn. The Corona Virus has proven that the devastation to the influencer community will be much larger. Many people that currently get to pick which brands they want to work with will be at mercy of large companies as they pull back marketing budgets.
Many influencers will have to get a job or suffer unemployment if they don’t have other skillsets. The biggest downgrade will be the lifestyle which is ingrained into social media users that constantly try to show their luxuries. And I believe we’ll see some influencers commit suicide as well due to social pressures. Of course, when the economy recovers, we will see an expansion of influencer marketing again, but the rules will never be the same again.
We’ll see a return to more of a celebrity style, centralized influencer branding like ads were back in day with certain models/celebrities getting most of the ad money. This will also allow for new influencers to emerge and lead the next set of social standards amongst people.
Update April 18:
Vice News did a cover of how the market is during Corona Virus. Should see a similar market during the next recession as well.