A new Socialbakers report examining the effects of COVID-19 on influencer marketing found that during the pandemic, influencer marketing efficiency decreased and that brands increasingly pivoted to micro-influencers.
As marketing budgets tightened, brands spent less on influencer partnerships. In April, the number of posts tagged with #ad decreased by 30 percent compared to April 2019, the lowest total since August 2019..
Influencer marketing efficiency—what Socialbakers defines as the ratio of average interactions on an influencer’s post mentioning the brand compared to a post published by the brand itself—decreased by 41 percent year over year, the lowest point since January 2019.
At the same time, the number of brands on Instagram working with influencers dropped by 37 percent year over year.
The healthcare industry was exempt from the efficiency drop as healthcare influencers’ posts were 4.2 times more efficient than brand posts. Influencer posts in the finance, telecom and accommodation verticals were also 3.9 times, 3.8 times and 2.7 times more efficient than brand posts, respectively. Unlike influencer posts in the auto (0.6 times), sporting goods (0.4 times) and airline (0.2) industries.
Brands with less than 10,000 followers saw the highest efficiency from influencer partnerships, especially when partnering with influencers with over 50,000 followers. Larger brands, on the other hand, mostly benefited from macro-influencer (over 1 million) partnerships.
Another influencer trend that emerged from the pandemic was the rise of brands working with small influencers in an effort to save on cost. In fact, small influencers (100,000 followers or less) represented 94 percent of all brand partnerships Socialbakers analyzed.
Thirty-three percent of all influencers working with brands in April were nano-influencers (less than 10,000 followers), producing nearly 32 percent of all #ad posts.
Micro-influencers (10,000 followers and up) were involved in 40 percent of all brand partnerships, while mega-influencers were involved in the least—one to three percent.
During lockdowns, influencer posts about insurance, recipes and healthcare grew as posts about travel, performing arts and music festivals declined.
In Q1, the brand mentioned by the most influencers was iDeal Of Sweden, which worked with 1,304 influencers; followed by Walmart, which worked with 548 influencers; and Netflix, which worked with 219 influencers.