Influencer Marketing in the Age of Social Distancing Continues to Catapult Targeted Industry Numbers

By Thomas Price Monday, October 5, 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused an incredible amount of change within the world of business. One of the industries that has not been immune to that as well has been influencer marketing, which has had to adapt in many different ways to how differently potential shoppers and consumers are taking in branded content. Social media growth, more money invested, and various other factors have kept influencer marketing thriving even amidst the struggles that other businesses have faced in 2020. Exploring how the influencer marketing industry has changed and grown in the past year is worth going through.

Influencer Marketing as it Stands

In 2019, influencer marketing saw a 300% increase in micro-influencers used to help spread branded content when compared to 2016. This led to the business of influencer marketing seeing a worth of roughly $8 billion in 2019. The industry as a whole was set to grow by nearly $9.7 billion in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, during the first few months of the pandemic, the influencer marketing industry saw a massive decline due to postponed events, companies cutting budgets, and lack of availability to film or create content to post. In fact, sponsored posts on Instagram saw a sharp dropoff, from representing 35% of branded content in mid-February to just 4% by the same time in April.

The market slowly began to bounce back with advertisers noticing the increased usage of social media due to the stay at home orders keeping people inside and on their phones or computers more often. For users under the age of 35, there was a 40% increase in traffic on social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, specifically in industries such as fitness and houseplants. Engagement and impressions skyrocketed during the summer, which led to money being invested once again. Some influencers within the houseplant market have seen growth translate to up to 150,000 new followers.

As influencers have learned to create more targeted content that focuses on the needs of the current economic and social climate, shifting toward fitness, leisure-wear, healthy eating, and mental health has led to an average increase of 67.2% more likes per post and 50% more comments. While this has only led to about a 3.1% increase in influencer pricing, the signs show that influencer marketing has never been more powerful. In fact, businesses are making $5 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, making it one of the best advertising tools in the modern era. Of businesses surveyed, 89% say that their return on investment in influencer marketing is comparable or better than traditional marketing pursuits. When looking at the cost per one thousand impressions on an advertisement, influencer marketing is far and away the best strategy, especially when taking into consideration the value of how targeted an ad can be when using specific influencers. Looking toward the future, with a whopping 3.75 billion active global social media users, the potential for growth in influencer marketing moving forward is nearly limitless.

Future of Influencer Marketing

Despite notable dips during the early months of 2020, the impressive bounce back throughout the rest of the year has led to tremendous optimism within the influencer marketing industry. When looking toward the projections for the future, it is anticipated that the market as a whole will increase to $23.52 billion by the year 2025. While it is not certain how different areas will see the most growth, the main takeaway from 2020 comes from how adept influencers were at keeping their finger on the pulse of what the consumer was looking for in their content to maintain high engagement. With 2020 forcing influencers and advertisers to make adjustments toward fitness, health and wellness, and leisure activities, it showed the capabilities of the influencer marketing industry to shift gears toward new ventures with relative ease.

Final Conclusions

The influencer marketing industry showed off two major points in 2020: its resilience and continued value as an advertising tool. With social media continuing to be a major presence globally, no major signs are pointing toward anything, but growth for influencer marketing is going forward.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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