When the pandemic hit, the type and quantity of content that influencers created essentially changed overnight to reflect brand accountability and budget cuts. According to Traackr’s “The State of Influence 2020: #Unprecedented” report, this resulted in a noticeable decline in the overall amount of sponsored content across all social media platforms—except TikTok.
In fact, from H1 2019 to H2 2020, the number of paid active influencers on TikTok increased by 368 percent, sponsored posts increased by 95 percent, and engagements with sponsored posts increased by 298 percent.
Two brands that have reaped the benefits of TikTok are E.l.f. Cosmetics and Chipotle. Since the first half of 2019, the number of E.l.f.’s paid active influencers on TikTok grew 62 percent and engagements with its sponsored posts increased 149 percent. Contributing to the brand’s success was a TikTok dance challenge encouraging the importance of hand-washing set to an original song called #EyesLipsFace.
Chipotle’s first foray into TikTok came long before other brands caught on. In June 2019, the company launched its #ChipotleLidFlip campaign, which within a month amassed more than 230 million views and generated 250,000 video submissions. As Forbes reported, this made it TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the US to date.
Compared to H1 last year, in H1 2020 Chipotle’s paid active influencer base on TikTok grew by 75 percent, its posts by 97 percent and its engagements by 498 percent.
Since H1, the number of paid active influencers on Instagram has declined 29 percent, on YouTube by 16 percent and on Twitter by 43 percent. The largest drop in engagement occurred on Instagram (down 40 percent) and the biggest decrease in sponsored posts happened on Twitter (down 65 percent).
Despite Instagram’s loss, the launch of its new shopping features, an increase in consumers shopping online and cancel culture all contributed to explosive growth for Instagram Live. Traackr’s findings show that from H1 last year to H2 this year, mentions of Instagram Live ballooned 716 percent with a whopping 508 percent increase in the number of active influencers mentioning the live format.
Though Twitter has been known for promoting conversations around real-time events, there was a 17 percent decline in the number of total sponsored posts and a six percent drop in engagements with those posts. Still, for brands looking to drive awareness, partake in important conversations and drive website traffic, Twitter is a valuable platform.
The rise of TikTok has clearly also eclipsed YouTube’s performance, as it saw a 17 percent decrease in the number of total sponsored posts and a 20 percent decline in engagements with those posts. However, Traackr believes that YouTube’s forthcoming streaming platform and its positioning as a hub for quarantine workouts will enable the platform to gain traction.
As far as influencer trends by industry, the skincare category in particular saw a surge in engagements with sponsored posts (199 percent), video views (176 percent) and paid influencers (22 percent). Top-performing skincare brands included Cerave, Primera, Shiseido, The Ordinary and Vaseline.
While makeup has been viewed as a non-essential during the pandemic, one aspect of the category, namely clean beauty, has seen a 43 percent increase in active influencers. In addition, posts related to clean beauty were up 47 percent and engagement were up 1,825 percent.
To understand what kind of influencers are driving the most growth for beauty brands, Traackr analyzed 100,378 recent posts mentioning at least one of 150 beauty brands across five major social networks. With the exception of TikTok, across all platforms, nano-influencers had the highest engagement rate.
In terms of the fashion industry, activewear has seen a boost during the pandemic as the number of paid influencers in the category has grown 101 percent and engagements with their posts grew by 331 percent.
The findings are based on a sample of 41,219 influencers primarily located in the US, Canada and Europe who create content around lifestyle categories including beauty, fashion, food and beverage. Traackr surveyed the pool from January 2019-June 2020.
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