Influencer spending in the US will reach $4.14 billion in 2022—a 12 percent increase—and growth will continue in double-digits in 2023 as spending approaches $5 billion.
With advances in 5G technology, augmented reality-driven experiences and virtual influencers are helping to drive some of the influencer market’s growth. In a blog written for Verizon, Dr. Francesca Sobande, a lecturer in digital media studies at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC), Cardiff University, shared insights on how 5G enables next-gen creators to hold their audience’s attention through trust, events and ethics.
Consumers buy products they see promoted by influencers they trust and part of maintaining that trust is understanding who follows them and why. Dr. Sobande believes that the higher speeds and low latency 5G provides mean more opportunities for influencers to reach followers with high-quality, immersive rich media while on the go. These improvements are also part of what’s fueling the number of monthly AR users, which grew 10 percent year-over-year.
Given micro- and nano-influencers’ engagement rates are highly competitive, 5G can be especially useful for these creators as they live-stream because the tech allows for near-real-time and location-specific data to be transferred and analyzed quickly, giving them the ability to better react to audience behaviors.
The capabilities of 5G offer blended forms of online and in-person communication, which can help widen the audience for influencers’ events. With the 5G-enabled Landmarker Lens created by Verizon and Snapchat in mind, Dr. Sabonde gives the example of onsite installations and artwork that connect to digital communities that can alter a location’s aesthetics in near-real-time response. And as apps like TikTok and Instagram increase the maximum length of video uploads, the high speeds that 5G affords become even more important, she writes.
5G is also contributing to the development of emerging technologies that are building virtual influencers. Brands, as Dr. Sabonde writes, are finding that influencer marketing is enabled by tech but not solely driven by it. Ultimately, consumers’ desires to be treated like people, not numbers, may not be met by virtual influencers if the influencers focus on tech trends rather than focusing on humans.