Good news: with a projected value of $24.1B by 2025, influencer marketing remains a top marketing strategy for brands.
So, as you explore this social media marketing powerhouse, it’s helpful to have the latest trends in your back pocket.
What is a UGC creator? Is live shopping back? How much niche-r can content get?
We’ll cover all this and more with our top influencer marketing trends to watch in 2023.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that leverages endorsements from influencers (and creators) to promote a brand's products or services.
Because influencers are already trusted by their followers, it makes their recommendations feel like they're coming from a friend.
It's a great way to tap into an already engaged audience, introduce your brand, and jumpstart a relationship with potential customers — in a less salesy way.
Influencer Marketing Trends in 2023
From UGC content flooding our feeds to creators taking the reins, here are 15 trends to keep on your radar in 2023:
Creator-focused Marketplaces Explode
Less Filters & Curation
The Rise of UGC Creators
The Popularization of “Stock Content”
Niches Get Niche-r
Influencers Turned Business Owners
Comeback of Long-form Content
More Ongoing Partnerships & Collaborations
More Control Over Branded Content
Creators Become Social Media Managers
Influencers as Creative Directors
Adopting a Sustainability Lens
Live Shopping Partnerships
Micro & Nano Creators Really Take Off
#1: Creator-focused Marketplaces Explode
When TikTok and Instagram launched their creator marketplace tools, they made it easier for brands and creators to collaborate on campaigns.
And now, brands like Later and even Walmart (yep, you read that right) are attempting to streamline how brands and influencers communicate:
As more platforms continue to emerge, we predict a shift in the influencer marketing agency space.
How will relationships with agencies evolve if everything from discoverability to collaboration can be done all within one platform?
While it remains to be seen, this is definitely an influencer marketing trend to watch.
P.S. With Later’s Brand Collabs, you can find tons of creators for your next campaign. Get started today — available on Growth and Advanced plans.
#2: Less Filters & Curation
Perfectly imperfect content is the new wave on social media, and it’s become a growing influencer marketing trend too.
Creators are shifting away from the flawless curated feed aesthetic, and choosing to share less filtered and more in-the-moment content.
Think: Instagram photo dumps and vlogs on TikTok.
One community who’s nailed this trend? BookTok creators.
Take Kendra who seamlessly promotes books in chill, authentic videos:
Feels like a FaceTime call with a friend, doesn’t it?
The takeaway? Don’t worry so much about finding influencers who have the “perfect” aesthetic in 2023.
#3: The Rise of UGC Creators
According to Forbes, over 86% of companies use user-generated content (UGC) as part of their marketing strategy.
And for good reason.
UGC is typically seen as more trustworthy than branded advertising, can help build credibility of your product, and is great for building a feed full of beautiful content.
However, UGC requires you to be consistently tagged in photos and videos — and for newer brands, it can take time to build a bank of UGC content.
Enter UGC creators: freelance content creators who specialize in creating UGC-inspired content for brands.
With no need for tons of followers or the obligation to show their face, this trend is popular with seasoned and aspiring influencers of all niches.
Our prediction? UGC creators will become just as valuable as traditional influencer partnerships to drive sales and traffic.
To learn more about UGC creators and how they can level up your social media marketing strategy, read our blog post: What Is a UGC Creator & Why Is It All Over Social?
#4: The Popularization of “Stock Content”
Between building an engaged community, partnership obligations, and simply being human — it’s unrealistic for influencers to create fresh content every day.
That’s where stock content comes in — or as entrepreneur Natasha of @shinewithnatasha describes it, “B-roll footage for low-lift high-impact content.”
“I have an entire folder of ready-to-create videos for when I want to show up but can’t be bothered to talk on camera or perfectly master a lip sync trend,” Natasha explains in her Reels caption.
It’s as simple as creators filming themselves making a cup of coffee or walking down the street in their OOTD.
With ready-to-go videos and photos, creators can prioritize their mental health and spend more time building relationships with followers.
Even platforms like Grid Bank are popping up to help fill content calendars with stock content — making this trend one to put on your radar.
Ready to plan your social media content in advance? Start scheduling your posts with Later, the ultimate social media management platform — create an account for free!
#5: Niches Get Niche-r
“Find your niche” has long been advice for aspiring influencers.
But with increased saturation, many have been forced to get creative with their content to stand out.
The result? Niche’s are getting niche-r.
Sustainable style, local lifestyle, mid-sized fashion — the list goes on.
This is good news for brands, because a better fit for the brand = a well-aligned, genuine partnership.
So, which niche creators will we see you partner with this year?
#6: Influencers Turned Business Owners
One trend we’ve noticed more and more in the influencer marketing industry is the creation of full-fledged entrepreneurs.
While being an influencer is its own full-time (or part-time) job, we’re talking about those who’ve turned their influence into their own businesses.
Take creator Rowi Singh who launched products to match her signature makeup looks — proving that influencers are becoming entrepreneurs now too:
What does this mean for brands? It opens up a world of opportunities for partnerships.
If you have an upcoming campaign, consider partnering with the influencer's account and their brand account for a giveaway or collaboration.
Being able to leverage their new business — when it makes sense — can be mutually beneficial for you both.
#7: Comeback of Long-form Content
TikTok raised their video length to 10 minutes in 2022, proving long-form content is here to stay.
From vlogs to educational content, prominent niches like the makeup community are creating longer videos for TikTok and Reels:
Are users growing tired of quick and fast trends? Will creators turn to creating more in-depth and "episodic" content? And what does this mean for platforms like YouTube?
We'll keep you posted. 👀
#8: Pay Transparency
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t black and white when it comes to how much influencers actually make.
Rates aren’t distributed fairly, and with little transparency into how much (and if) brands pay, it can be difficult for creators to understand their monetary value.
In 2023, discussions of pay are at the forefront of the creator economy, with platforms like Clara for Creators and FYPM helping creators get candid about their experiences with brands.
As these databases continue to populate, influencers can weed out the lowballers and choose partnerships that truly benefit them.
Let this be a reminder to review your rates and processes so you can stand out (in the best way) in conversations of pay.
#9: More Ongoing Partnerships & Collaborations
This trend held strong in 2022, and we predict it’ll continue in 2023!
Rather than a one-off post or video, influencers will be looking to partner with brands on a more ongoing basis.
Take Tashi whose love for SPF brand Supergoop is apparent throughout her sponsored content:
She even uses their products in non-sponsored posts — making the partnership feel more authentic:
Investing in a long-term relationship is a win-win for both parties.
Not only does it build trust with the influencer’s community, but it adds a level of legitimacy. Plus, it’ll drive sales!
Download our FREE influencer marketing campaign kit to map out your goals, source the right influencers, and more:
#10: More Control Over Branded Content
How many obligations make for a great influencer marketing campaign?
It’s probably less than you think.
As the creator space grows and algorithms change, Later’s Influencer Marketing Manager Kurtis Smeaton says it’s more important than ever to give influencers creative control.
“The more authentic the endorsement, the more genuine the partnership feels,” Kurtis says.
“Creators know their audience far better than we do — we need to trust that.”
Proof: GoPro sent 42 creators on the trip of a lifetime to Interlaken, Switzerland without any content obligations, and the results are as thrilling as the content:
Because they chose the right creators and didn’t get in the way of letting them be themselves, GoPro racked up hundreds of thousands of views showing off their new equipment.
Our advice for 2023? Go with a collaborative approach rather than a prescriptive one — and watch how your partnerships change for the better.
#12: Influencers as Creative Directors
Adding influencers to your team doesn’t have to stop at social media management.
In 2023, more brands will have in-house influencers actually lead their brand strategy.
From expanding reach to helping level the playing field for BIPOC creators, giving creators the reins can be a gold mine for long-term success.
Influencers are an asset to brands well beyond partnerships and campaigns. How many will have a seat at your table this year?
With Later, you can plan and publish your social media posts in advance for free. Join over 4M businesses, creators, and social media managers now and create an account:
#13: Adopting a Sustainability Lens
With an inevitable hit to the economy following the pandemic, consumers continue to prioritize and reevaluate their spending habits.
The takeaway? Over-pushing consumerism is a no-go in 2023.
To avoid accusations of insensitivity, influencers and brands will need to work together to reframe branded content through a sustainable lens.
And it doesn’t have to be tied to money and savings either.
For example, knitwear creator Victoria posted this TikTok about her sustainable Christmas:
Think about ways you can build your community without pushing your product too heavily, and partner with the right influencers to do it.
#14: Live Shopping Partnerships
While some social media shopping features like the Instagram Shop tab aren’t set to last, it doesn’t mean platforms will abandon the idea completely.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Projected to reach $25B in 2023, a trend on our radar this year is live shopping.
What’s old is new again — influencers promote products using live video, and their community shares their reactions in real-time.
With the ability to reach a mass amount of people in seconds, this trend is a no-brainer to add to your 2023 influencer marketing strategy.
#15: Micro & Nano Creators Really Take Off
Nano and Micro influencers have engaged communities that brands can tap into, making their product recommendations seem more authentic.
And this year, brands are doubling down on these creators — giving them tons of opportunities to grow their audience and make $$$.
Mejuri, waterdrop, and Arber are all examples of brands who have programs to support smaller creators.
Working with multiple Nano and Micro influencers can be an effective strategy if you’re looking to tap into small, hyper-niche audiences.
Plus, you can use Later’s Brand Collabs to find them!
There’s no doubt we will see exciting creative influencer marketing trends in the industry for years to come — and you can count on us to keep you in the loop.
Use Later’s Brand Collabs feature to find the perfect Nano and Micro creators for your next campaign — available on Growth and Advanced plans.