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How Does Influencer Marketing Look In 2021?

by Mandy Pao

Many marketers attribute 2009 as the year of influencers. The year saw an influx of bloggers and YouTubers, like Tanya Burr and PewDiePie, burst into the public eye, kickstarting the influencer phenomenon. PewDiePie, most notably, made a significant impact and has become one of the highest paid YouTubers with close to 100 million subscribers. The following year, Instagram was launched. 

Instagram allowed influencers to reach a broader audience and widen the scope of engagement. Just half a decade later, 40% of social media users in the U.S. had claimed they purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube. This social media wave struck hard. By 2017, 71% of marketers believed that hiring ambassadors were the most effective form of social media marketing.


What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a brand collaborates with an online influencer to help achieve the brand’s objectives, whether that’s to help sell products or raise brand recognition. 


Influencer marketing is a mix of old and new approaches to marketing. At the end of the day, influencer marketing is a buzzword for celebrity endorsement, polished and repackaged for today’s content-driven marketing. What sets it apart from anything else in the past is that influencer-led campaigns are often considered collaborations between brands and influencers, meaning individuals are starting to attain more power.

Case Study: PewDiePie’s Big Hit
One of the earliest major examples of influencer marketing involved PewDiePie when the YouTuber joined forces with the makers of a horror film taking place in the French catacombs: the YouTuber created videos where he took on challenges in the catacombs, garnering attention from 27 million of his subscribers. The results showed a 100% increase in the number of views the movie’s trailer got before the partnered content was launched. 

Influencer Marketing Statistics in 2021

Influencer marketing is expected to be worth $13.8 billion USD by the end of this year. According to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses claimed they’re making $5.78 USD in returns for every $1 USD spent on influencer marketing. The report also noted “67% of brands use Instagram for influencer marketing.”


Influencers Types

Social media has grown and evolved so much that marketers have now identified different types of influencers. Do the Kardashians spring to mind when thinking of influencers? While they might be the biggest influencers on social media, they’re also celebrities. It’s important to note that not all influencers are celebrities. In fact, some influencers have a very niche following, but teaming up with them can drive significant results. See influencer types below :

Credit: Branch & Bramble


  • Nano-influencers: under 10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000 to 100,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers: 100,000 to 1 million followers
  • Mega-influencers: Over 1 million followers

The costs of hiring an influencer varies depending on their, well, “influence,” but more and more businesses appear to be employing these vibrant personalities. According to Hootsuite, “U.S. spending on influencer marketing is set to surpass $3 billion for the first time in 2021, and to top $4 billion in 2022.” That’s a lot of influencer marketing.

For those thinking about hiring an influencer for the next campaign, here’s the most common baseline pricing formula :


$100 USD for every 10,000 followers + Extras = Total Rate


Here’s How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Credit: McDonald’s


Step 1: Define Your Campaign Objectives

Before you start on any of the real work, you must ask yourself what you want to achieve from influencer marketing. Set your goals. For many marketers, the number one objective is to tap into a new pool of audiences — reach the followers of the influencer. The second most common objective is to make sales. 

Step 2: Set Your Targets

After you’ve set your goals, you can move on to creating measurable targets that you’ll be able to track the progress of. Keep your efforts accountable for the results you pull in. 


Step 3: Find The Right Influencers

Finding the right KOL can either make or break your campaign. Remember: influencers are people, not assets. You must fully guide the influencer to deliver the creative assets that you’re expecting for your brand (captions, photos, timing, etc.) Failure to give the adequate attention to the project could lead to misaligned objectives and could ultimately end up costing you extra and building the wrong brand image.


Step 4: Launch and Track

You may tweak your strategy as you go, but make sure you make decisions based on measurable data rather than relying solely on intuition.


Consider the 3 Rs of Influence

  1. Relevance: Make sure the influencer you employ aligns well with the demands of your target market.
  2. Reach: Maximize the number of people you could reach with your campaign.
  3. Resonance: Do your best to make the content as useful and exciting as possible for the highest engagement.


Shortlist Your Favorite Influencers

Lastly, make a list of the influencers you want to bring on to your campaign. The person could either make or break the idea. Sometimes, if chosen well, an influencer enhances your original idea. Many brands have great experiences with influencers that turn into long-term partnerships. Influencers have the potential to bring a strong personality to your brand, so choose your influencers well.


As we dive more and more into the topic of influencer marketing, we can’t help but think about some of the influencers in Hong Kong who are our friends / favourite go-to. So without further ado, here are our favorite influencers making waves in three different industries.

Fashion & Lifestyle
@Lindsayjang, @Arthur.bray, @Elly, @Justinelee425, @Jessichloe


Wellness
@hilaryxtsui, @UtahLee, @natalie.soderstrom, @Siiiena, @Alisonelazar


F&B
@Thisgirlabroad, @Ea_ting_hk, @Jenbalisi, @Moannaxdessire, @Furellie



While influencer marketing has been around for a while now, it is here to say. It is alive and well and it is, without a doubt, on an upward trajectory. There’s been a little over a 460% increase in Google searches for “influencer marketing” in the last five years (Influencer Marketing Hub). The ever-evolving landscape of social media is allowing all types of personalities to participate and claim their place as influencers in their own rights.

Finding the right KOL can either make or break your campaign. Remember: influencers are people, not assets. You must fully guide the influencer to deliver the creative assets that you’re expecting for your brand (captions, photos, timing, etc.) Failure to give the adequate attention to the project could lead to misaligned objectives and could ultimately end up costing you extra and building the wrong brand image.

I can’t help but feel excited for what we can do for clients as we continue to move forward in this digital revolution.


In case you missed it, check out our previous article on the power of memes in marketing.

(Feature image credit: Fanpage Karma)

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