By Amy Bottrill
It’s hard to say for certain what could be in store online in 2024. Particularly in the ever-changing world of social media – last year, creators that were completely unknown in January were fronting viral ads by December. Our Social Account Director Amy Bottrill doesn’t have a crystal ball (yet), but here are her top five predictions for the particularly unpredictable world of influencers:
1. The (slightly scary) potential of AI
In the world of comms, we all pride ourselves on creative ideas brought to life with sharp copywriting and attention-grabbing visuals. But last year, PRs and marketers had fun dabbling in ChatGPT and eerily realistic image generation tools (just skim through any pitch deck from the past 6 months). And if we’re doing it, content creators are too. This year, it will take even more creativity to cut through the AI-generated content noise. Sophisticated algorithms might be able to help us select the perfect influencer to collaborate with, but authentic human personalities will still be the key to standing out.
2. Individuals over influencers
2023 flipped influencer marketing upside down - lots of us left traditional macro ‘influencers’ behind, and started investing in true creators who are experts in their fields, or perfectly positioned to tap into subcultures. In 2024, these specialists will continue to cultivate their loyal audiences across multiple platforms. The most effective partnerships will put a spotlight on individuality - no longer treating influencers like another media channel, but seeing them for what they are: unique, real people. Unless they’re AI-generated, that is.
3. Sell, sell, sell
Although influencer marketing will feel less transactional than it’s been in the past, the world of influencers and affiliates will also overlap more than ever before. With TikTok pushing live shopping in the UK and US (and no doubt many more markets to come), and creators looking to maximise their earning potential, we’ll see lines between content and commerce becoming increasingly blurred.
4. Playing it safe = missing the boat
What went viral today probably won’t be viral by tomorrow, and lengthy sign-off processes could mean that the moment’s passed by the time you get there. In 2023, some of the brands that got the most love online were the quickest to tap into burgeoning trends before they peaked, quickly identifying tomorrow’s stars before they’d risen.
5. Creators taking charge
Just a few years ago, influencers really needed brands. They relied on press trips and gifted experiences for content, and sponsored posts were a primary source of income. Now that there are more ways to monetise content, and brands are the ones relying on influencers to stay relevant and keep up with their competitors, the power dynamic has shifted. Smart creators will know their worth and if they’re in demand, they can afford to be choosy. Great content will mean real investment: not just in terms of budget planning, but devoted PR team attention, too.