Influencers are only becoming more influential, as evidenced by a new influencer agreement that the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) approved. The organization currently represents 160,000 entertainment professionals.
The New York Times reports that the agreement is the result of three and a half years of research on how the entertainment landscape is evolving and will expand coverage and membership options to social media creators–namely individuals who are paid to promote products on social media platforms. Influencers will be able to earn union income and qualify for health and pension benefits.
“The Influencer Agreement offers a pathway for both current and future members to cover their influencer-generated branded content under a SAG-AFTRA contract,” union president Gabrielle Carteris said in an email to the Times.
Carteris noted in a press release that making it easier to cover influencers’ work has been a “top priority” for the organization, and aims to “embrace and uplift” creators.
There’s no minimum follower count for influencers who want to join SAG, but influencers hired for “still” campaigns won’t be considered—only those with contracts for sponsored video or audio content are eligible. Additionally, eligibility for health and pension benefits will be based on certain work conditions.
SAG’s agreement will also enable it to advocate on behalf of influencers and pursue legislation to assist in collective bargaining and payment dispute settlements.
The agreement is a pivotal step for influencers who create sponsored video content for brands via Instagram, TikTok and the like, and crystallizes the growing importance and usage of creators in marketing campaigns across all industries.
Influencers have proved to be especially valuable for brands as social media usage has increased 16.4 percent year-over-year. With more eyes on social and in turn, influencers’ content, marketers are expecting to increase their spend on influencer marketing by 48 percent in 2021, according to Kantar Media research. By 2022, the influencer industry will be worth $15 billion, up from $8 billion in 2019.
What’s more, in its inaugural influencer forecast, eMarketer estimates that nearly 68 percent of US marketers with 100 or more employees will leverage influencers for paid or unpaid brand partnerships in 2021. The firm found that while marketers reduced influencer marketing investments in 2020, interest in working with them increased—from 55.4 percent in 2019 to 62.3 percent in 2020. Echoing that sentiment is a recent Klear report that found that influencer marketing’s global reach increased by 57 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.