We’re midway through the year but it doesn’t mean you can’t start fresh, and plans can still be set in motion. Below we’ve compiled the hottest influencer marketing trends for 2019. Does your influencer marketing strategy have these trends in tow?

2019 Influencer Marketing Trends

Let’s take a look at the 2019 influencer marketing trends that we’re predicting are going to be huge (and no, we’re not talking about the bell bottoms that are trying to make a comeback). Based on past experiences and current conversations with brands, instead of simply stating “video is going to be big” (thanks, captain obvious), we’re diving deeper into the 2019 influencer marketing trends that will help your brand and/or product make a huge splash this year. Additionally, we are giving you ideas on how to implement them into your campaign plans.

2019 Influencer Marketing Trends That Make Your Campaigns Score Big

1. Implement smart speakers.

You guys! Who doesn’t love Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, or Google Home? I feel like everywhere I go, I either see ads for these devices or see the devices in homes. People are LOVING this technology. Why? It’s an easy way to have a smart home while having awesome music. Win-win.

Mark my word: Voice in influencer marketing is going to be the next big thing.

Have you heard the commercials that actually speak to a home’s smart speaker device? Brands know that people love these products and have them in their homes. So, they are trying to think of creative ways to get the consumers’ attention.

Now it’s your turn to get the consumers’ attention. But, not with commercials. Instead, think about using Influencer Marketing to drive brand awareness thanks to the help of smart speakers.

What exactly does that mean?

We recently partnered with First Alert [case study] in support of their Onelink Safe & Sound device, the first smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with a superior home speaker and Amazon Alexa built-in. This campaign was all the rage with influencers, who sampled the device and then raved (authentically, of course) about their experience.

So, in terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, how could you take it a step further and really hone in on the Smart Speaker Trend with the help of influencers? This whole concept is a bit tricky because the influencer marketing campaign ideas need to be centered on voice and sound instead of images. Here are some ideas:

  • Launch a campaign that allows readers/followers to chat with their favorite influencer.
  • Create a skill set and have influencers promote the skill set. You could create a fun game focused on using the skill set. Who doesn’t love the Jeopardy skill on Amazon Alexa?
  • Work with fashion influencers and have them create an Amazon “storefront” that can be shopped by their readers/followers using an Alexa skill.

2. Venture into the world of podcasts.

Is it strange to think that podcasts are the new black, I mean the new blog? They are all the rage and will become even bigger in 2019. Because of this, influencers are the perfect hosts and followers want to hear from them. Influencers are fully aware of this and many have shifted their focus, making their blogs secondary and their podcast primary to drive traffic, increase followers, and engage with fans. Why? A podcast gives their readers and followers the feeling that they are hanging out with the influencers.

Simply put: When it comes to 2019 influencer marketing trends, you’ll want to find a way to work with influencers via podcasts. However, an important thing to keep in mind is that podcasts, although they might seem like radio, should not be treated like radio. Although they are both audio channels, radio is local and broadcast so everyone hears it. Podcasts are national (and even international), but audiences are targeted and opt-in. [source] Here are some ideas:

  • Sponsor a podcast (e.g., you could send product to an influencer and have them share their thoughts/opinions on the product).
  • Arrange an interview (e.g., instead of having the podcast host read messages off of a cue card, invite a person onto the podcast who can talk first-hand about the product).
  • Invite an influencer to take over your brand’s podcast for one or more segments and promote it to his or her followers, encouraging them to attend. Then, put paid advertising behind the segment, tagging the influencer, to increase the listens.

3. Love IGTV.

If you haven’t traveled to the land of IGTV yet, then make plans to vacation there in 2019. Yes, the growth seems to be a bit slow, but here are a few reasons why your brand will love exposure on IGTV and why it made our 2019 influencer marketing trends list:

  • “IGTV is a great tool to provide longer form content to your audience, which is hard to do on a post or story. (80% of Instagram users would rather watch a video than read a blog post from a brand.)” [source]
  • “While only verified accounts or accounts with 10,000 or more followers can use the ‘swipe up’ feature on Instagram Stories, accounts of any size can now add a swipe up link to IGTV videos within Instagram Stories.” [source]
  • “When you add a new IGTV video, your followers will get a big orange notification across the top of their screen about your new video. At a time when there are 1 billion Instagram accounts for your posts to compete with, being singled out on these notifications is a great perk.While professionally produced videos also look great on IGTV, any account can make use of the feature, regardless of video budget.” [source]

In addition, the opportunity to cross-promote between Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, and IGTV is a big reason why you should use IGTV as a tool for influencer marketing campaigns. Are you sold? If so, how can you make IGTV work for your brand in 2019? Here are some ideas:

  • Repurpose existing video or high-performing IG Stories (just make sure the video is in 4:5 vertical format).
  • Have influencers host sponsored recurring segments and incorporate feedback loops and polls that tie into their sponsored IG post(s) and IG Story as well.
  • Run a weekly “TV” series with an influencer or a group of influencers.
  • Collaborate with a group of influencers who can create a talk show type setting across their IGTV accounts.

The exciting news? IGTV is so new for the influencer marketing industry, but we predict good things are to come. So, why not be the brand that embraces it and sets the standard for an awesome IGTV-sponsored experience?

4. Integrate AI.

Now, I’m not saying that the future will be made up of artificial influencers (yikes!). Remember, we’re all about authentic and genuine content and real human beings over here at FORWARD. But, one of the benefits of AI, especially in relation to influencer marketing, is that it can create segmentations for influencer attributes based on data ranging from audience breakdown, past performance, brand affinity, and sponsorship saturation. [source]

Here’s the final game of “Did you know?”

  • “AI can sift through past performance data, assess what types of brands influencers have worked with in the past, and which influencers continually drive high, qualified engagement around specific types of products or types of content. All of this enables advertisers to focus less on execution and more on making the right marketing strategy decisions.” [source]

The important thing to keep in mind is that even with all of this AI talk, there is still a need for the human element (and no, I’m not just saying that because I work for an influencer marketing network). The human element is key when it comes to managing influencer marketing campaigns due to the influencer selection process, as well as to drive innovation around content and social media strategy.

AI can certainly streamline the functionality of business and influencer marketing in 2019, but continue to use humans to ensure creativity, innovation, and quality.

5. Create live video.

Yes, this might not seem like a new trend, but hear me out. Let’s a play a game called “Did you know?”

  • “Live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.” [source]
  • “By 2019, video will make up an astounding 80 percent of all internet traffic and, not surprisingly, two out of three marketers expect video to make up the majority of their content in the near future.” [source]

With all of that being said, how can you make video work for you and your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns? It’s all about the live videos and stories. Followers want to feel like they are with their favorite influencers, which is the feeling they get from live stories and videos.

In terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, here are some campaign ideas on how to make live video work for your brand:

  • Behind-the-scenes (for food brands, that could translate to influencer visits to the brand’s farm)
  • Store try-ons with polls (for clothing brands, that could translate to influencer visits to the brand’s store and crowd sources her outfits)
  • Hands-on activities (for DIY brands, that could translate to influencer craft time)
  • Moms night out (for parenting brands, that could translate to influencers meeting up with local parents to discuss topics and share products)

So, how can your brand switch things up and enhance live video? Cut, share, and cross-post. Repurpose the content and get it out in myriad places across the interwebs. People are loving video and will continue to do so next year which is why video made our list of 2019 influencer marketing trends. So, why not give them what they want … across all of the platforms? You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck, keep followers happy, and increase engagement.

6. Take campaign engagement to the next level with creative partnerships.

What do we love? Engagement. When do we want it? NOW … and even more in 2019. So, how can you increase engagement on your sponsored posts and shares? First of all, you will need to find a way to optimize and maximize the content.

So, in terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, I think we’ll see brands developing long-term relationships with influencers. What are the benefits of long-term influencer relationships? Trust, reliability, confidence, organic endorsements, authenticity … the list could go on and on. Readers/followers will see the influencer posting organically about the sponsor over a longer period of time which will only help to increase engagement. Instead of one-off sponsored content, ambassador-like partnerships will be one of the 2019 influencer marketing trends.

What are other ways you can increase engagement in 2019?

  • Start conversations (e.g., ask people to caption a photo and maybe throw in a giveaway).
  • Make social videos to attract readers/followers and create an experience that builds community.
  • Create short, fun product videos that can be shared by influencers.
  • Partner with influencers who are or have published books. Because of their established voice and following, many influencers are becoming immediate best sellers. Brands have a huge opportunity to sponsor campaigns around a popular influencer’s book, partner with them on the book tour, satellite media tour, or otherwise maximize on the publicity the influencer is sure to get when promoting his or her book. Authors need support when first promoting their book. And brands need visibility. This strategy is a match made in heaven.

Another way you can maximize engagement is by diversifying and creating opportunities. Well, that seems broad, right? Let’s play another game of “Did you know?” Influencers are now creating their own product lines. That’s right. Influencers turned their passion into product lines that their readers and followers are LOVING. Here are a few examples:

  • Amber Fillerup, the woman behind the blog https://www.barefootblonde.com/, took her passion for hair and launched her own line of hair extensions that sell out within minutes of new product launches.
  • Jordan Ferney, the woman behind the blog http://ohhappyday.com/, partnered up with Alaska Airlines on her museum: Color Factory. She started as a blogger and social media influencer, got big on Instagram, moved into owning a party supply store, and now has a popular museum in Manhattan, Manhattan Color Walk.
  • Rachel Parcell, the woman behind the blog http://pinkpeonies.com/, took her passion for fashion (love a good rhyme) and launched her own clothing line, Rachel Parcell.

Nutshell? Influencers are savvy, educated, and business-minded. Discover the right ones, establish those long-term relationships, and you never know how far you’ll both go together.

7. Work with micro-influencers.

We feel the need, the need for … AUTHENTICITY. There, I said it. Followers are growing tired of seeing pitchy/salesy/markety content from influencers. And, well, to be honest, brands are not getting the biggest bang for their buck with that type of content from the influencers. The year 2019 will help us take a good hard look at who is chosen for influencer marketing campaigns and make us shift to work with people who remind us of our family, friends, neighbors, etc.

To be clear, I’m not saying that big-time influencers are not authentic. We work with a ton of heavy-hitters that create amazing authentic content that their readers and followers absolutely love. All I’m saying is that 2019 will shine a bright, beautiful light on micro-influencers and their amazing authentic content.

Why work with micro-influencers instead of celebrity influencers? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • They are approachable.
  • Their content usually ends up having more engagement (music to your ears, right?!).
  • Their opinions are a trustworthy source of word-of-mouth promotions.
  • They are relatable because they are just like everyday consumers.

The list can go on and on. Don’t get me wrong. We love a good celebrity campaign. But, 2019 will be the year of the micro-influencers.

8. Go retro-ish with platforms like Twitter that are making a comeback.

As I mentioned, fashion styles (like bell bottoms) always seem to move in cycles throughout the years. Walk into any Target right now and you’ll definitely feel some 80s vibes, am I right? So, let’s go retro-ish with social media, shall we?

What was huge back when this whole thing started? Twitter parties (Twitter chats or socials as some brands call them). Years ago, Twitter parties were everywhere. But, if you think Twitter parties are a thing of the past, think again. Twitter parties are not going anywhere in 2019. Why? With so many people on Twitter nowadays, brands are able to hit an incredible amount of impressions and reach within even just a short 1-hour Twitter party. Brands can get panelists to join, hit the goals they need to achieve (and/or exceed), share their hashtag and messages, and get new followers. What’s not to love about a good ‘ole fashioned Twitter party?

The moral of the story is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Twitter parties still work. So, don’t ditch them in 2019.

9. Work with Gen Xers.

Move over, Millennials. The year 2019 will shift focus to working with Gen Xers. What’s the difference between Millennials and Gen X?

  • “Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X. Millennials are sometimes referred to as “echo boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, and because millennials are often the children of the baby boomers.” [source]

During 2018, a lot of focus was put on working with Millennials due to their reach, engagement, and familiarity with the hottest trends. In terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, the focus will remain on the Millennials, but we’ll start to see brands shifting focus back to Gen X thanks to things like the Gen Xers’ disposable income. Why will you love working with Gen X influencers? Typically, Gen X influencers (and their readers and followers) [source]:

  • Embrace the Internet.
  • Love to search far and wide for the information they need.
  • Expect inclusion.
  • Demand reliability.
  • Favor DIY projects.

With all that being said, one of the greatest obstacles in the marketing approach to Gen Xers is that they tend to shop more conservatively than other generations. As a result, they’re more skeptical about marketing tactics, which means they won’t be fans of flashy advertising. Instead, they want practicality and proof of performance. In other words, Gen Xers will thoroughly research and use search engines, online reviews, and social media before purchasing a product. [source] So, this mentality will fit right inline with your influencer marketing campaigns because honest explanations and product usage by the Gen X influencers will draw in their followers and readers. Hello, ROI.

10. Plan all influencer marketing campaigns around ROI. Start, don’t just end, a campaign with metrics.

How do you determine whether or not a campaign was successful? Are you part of the “good vibes” club? If so, it’s time to take a good hard look at, you guessed it, marketing metrics. Yes, times they are a-changin’ thanks to APIs, metrics tracking platforms, and engagement (to name a few). But, getting your stats in order to set campaign goals and prove ROI is more important than ever. In terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, measuring ROI is going to be huge.

Social media has been the most lucrative avenue not just for leisure and fun, but also for business. In fact, according to Pew Research, as of 2018, approximately 7 out of 10 Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information, and entertain themselves. With all of this in mind, you know that your social media campaigns have the potential to reach a lot of people.

When social media marketing metrics are integrated into the business and into campaigns, you will know which strategy gives the lowest value, what type of campaign creates the biggest bang for your buck, which platform best suits your audience, and what technique improves your ROI.

In 2019, it will be more important than ever to:

  • Know the benefits of talking metrics before tactics (more info).
  • Choose the right influencer marketing activation to get the right ROI.
  • Know which metrics to track on each social media platform.
  • Know how to track metrics on each platform.
  • Prepare a metrics report that will WOW your bosses and brands.

Wrapping It All Up

In short, social media is not going away and the use of influencers in marketing is only going to continue on the upward trend in 2019. So, how can you be ahead of the trends and set apart your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns? Focus on these 2019 influencer marketing trends:

  • Implementing smart speakers
  • Venturing into the world of podcasts
  • Loving IGTV
  • Integrating AI
  • Creating live video
  • Working with micro-influencers
  • Going retro-ish
  • Maximizing engagement with creative partnerships
  • Working with Gen Xers
  • Measuring ROI

What 2019 influencer marketing trends do you see on the horizon?

4 Key Marketing Metrics You Need To Be Tracking