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Coronavirus Brings Down Social Media Influencer Earnings By 60-70%

Coronavirus Brings Down Social Media Influencer Earnings By 60-70%

India has been under a national lockdown for the past one month

This lockdown has limited product reviews and promotion opportunities for influencers

We look deeper into the new potential trends in influencer marketing

Social media influencers have power in the marketplace at any given time, directing attention on chosen products, brands and experiences. However, in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, as marketing budgets grow thinner, earnings of social media influencers have also dropped by about 60-70%, said Amit Nagpal of Bloggers Alliance.

“There has not been any new influencer marketing campaign or brand deals in the past two months. However, a new trend of inviting influencers for live streams, webinars and podcasts to talk about their trade and experiences has emerged,” he added

Ankit Agarwal, founder, Do Your Thng, agreed with Nagpal, “With events canceled, travel embargo and quarantine becoming the norm, brands have either postponed or put on hold indefinitely or outright scrapped most partnerships with creators. While there are no official numbers to quantify the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on content creators, the majority (read 90 to 95%) are seeing their brand deals drying up,” said Agarwal.

The India Influence Report by Zefmo also found that 95% of influencers foresee a dip in their earnings in 2020 due to Covid-19  impact on the overall industry. This goes against the grain of what Indian influencer’s earned in 2019. Earnings as social influencers reportedly crossed $1Bn last year, making it a viable profession for millions across the country.

New Trends In Influencer Marketing

Nagpal predicts that influencer marketing will see brand collaborations from profitable sectors such as digital payments, video conferencing tools, gaming, entertainment, and OTT. Given that advertising budgets will be slashed, he expects companies to choose cheaper alternatives to influencer marketing over mass media advertising. 

Prashant Sharma, CMO, NOFILTR also said that lockdown has limited the influencer marketing approach for some brands but in a situation where offline marketing is on a halt, brands in the FMCG industry are looking forward to testing influencer marketing.

Given that physical events and travel is expected to be limited for the long haul. Both brands and influencers will have to alter strategies to cope up in the new market. “Besides content becoming more subtle and personal, expect to see a rise in four key areas – health, food, comedy, and DIY (Do-It-Yourself),” said Aggarwal.

Zefmo’s report also predicted that brands will adjust their marketing spends to limit the outflow of cash, however, 73% of the influencers feel that brands will engage them on longer-term contracts rather than one-off paid posts, thus driving economies of scale and audience connect. Further, in terms of technological adaptations, 58% of the influencers were found to have either started or are considering the option of live sessions and webinars on a periodic basis to engage with their audiences in real-time.

Social media live sessions, digital events (like Vir Das’ Zoom gig) and webinars are now becoming a regular way to engage audiences. Another visible change in influencer marketing has been the shift of brand campaigns from being product-specifics to the product experience.  

The OTT streaming company Disney+Hotstar recently roped in a few influencers to promote its new Disney+ content in the past few weeks. Also, Reebok India had collaborated with a fitness trainer and influencer Yasmin Karachiwala and Katrina Kaif to create home workout videos to promote Rebook’s fitness app. Dettol and Lifebuoy also have used influencer marketing for their campaigns to promote best hygiene practices.  

Update | 11:01, April 27, 2020

Inputs from Zefmo’s India Influence Report were added to the story.