Global Influencer Marketing Spend Surged 22% in 2022 to $29B, Pacing for 17% Growth in ’23, Fueled by Rising Interest in Popular Agents of Fashion, Entertainment & Sports

Global influencer marketing spending grew 21.5% in 2022 to $29.14 billion and is on pace to rise 16.9% in 2023, fueled by a growing number of brand marketers investing in a multiplying number of macro and micro influencers using social media channels to espouse products and brands among their peers, according to new research by PQ Media.

Driven by a surge in time spent with social media by pre-Boomer demographics, particularly Millennials and iGens, key target consumers are creating unprecedented buzz online about brands and products among their colleagues, which are increasingly the most influential and coveted young consumer groups. Ignited by this exploding interest in popular buzz agents of fashion, entertainment and sports, influencer marketing investments in the United States surged 22.2% to $22.19 billion in 2022 and spending is projected to rise 17.6% in 2023, according to PQ Media’s Global Influencer Marketing Forecast 2023-2027.

Influencer marketing is an invaluable piece of successful omnichannel campaigns because it helps brands improve their social media reputation with high-quality content and, ultimately, grow sales.

The US market commanded 76.1% of global influencer marketing spend in 2022, with its share growing from 75.5% in 2017; however, PQ Media expects the US share to shrink to 67.8% by year-end 2027, as the influencer juggernaut rapidly sweeps across the globe and becomes a key component of omnichannel marketing campaigns aimed at Millennials, iGens and mGens during the next five years.

PQ Media defines influencer marketing as an alternative marketing strategy supported by research and technology that encourages consumers to dialogue about brands and products. Influencer marketing is deployed through various online and offline tactics, often facilitated by influential peers, communities and brand advocates. The influencer marketing sector consists of three broad channels – content creators, strategic service providers, and measurement & platform suppliers – and five additional categories within these three broad channels, including influencer research, influencer technology, public relations agencies, influencer agencies, and consulting firms.

In both the overall global and US markets, content providers are the largest and fastest growing influencer channel, followed by measurement & platform providers, and strategic services. All three major influencer channels grew between 18% and 26% in 2022, with similar growth projected for this year due to the increasing popularity and reach of not only US influencers in key brand verticals, like fashion, entertainment, and sports, but also the growing weight of leading buzz agents in other top 20 global markets, such as India, Japan, and Taiwan.

India was the fastest-growing global market in 2022, jumping 33.6%, followed closely by Japan where influencer marketing spend bounced 33.1%. Eight other markets grew by more than 20%, including the US, and none of the top 20 countries expanded by less than 10%. The United Kingdom was the only top 20 country that commanded a market share greater than 2.2%, accounting for 6.6% of global influencer spend. Canada, Germany, and France were the only other major media markets to account for more than 1% of global influencer investments.

Among the five influencer marketing categories included within the three broad influencer channels, public relations agencies was the largest with global spending of $6.10 billion, followed by macro influencers ($5.32 billion) and brand ambassadors ($4.43 billion). Meanwhile, micro influencers were the fastest growing category in 2022, up 30.5%, trailed by macro influencers at 27.7% and influencer agencies, up 22.5%, according to the Global Influencer Marketing Forecast 2023-2027.

Among the key trends fueling the consistent double-digit growth of influencer marketing in 2022 and 2023 are the following:

  • Metrics improving as brands move away from influencer-focused data, such as “likes,” to more brand-focused data, like click-throughs, as influencer marketing drives more meaningful conversations and the value of “buzz” becomes an ROI metric;
  • Influencer marketing being taught in educational venues as more colleges offer courses on the subject, leading influencers hold online seminars, and trade organizations provide conferences on influencer marketing;
  • Content becoming more authentic and creative, as influencers allow fewer filters from brands to ensure product discourse is more spontaneous and creators use products in more natural settings for the authenticity that research suggests leads to more consumer engagement;
  • Video content being used more often with the rise of 5G, making it easier to integrate video as smartphone download speeds continue to accelerate, and research indicates consumer engagement improves when video content is used;
  • Influencer marketing included in more omnichannel campaigns with influencers creating and launching new content via experiential marketing channels, such as virtual and hybrid events, games and concerts;
  • Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are the market leaders among social media used by influencers, with Instagram being used most often to reach Millennials, TikTok utilized to engage iGens, and YouTube’s new short video format showing promise in reaching younger demographics.
  • A few examples of major influencer marketing campaigns that were widely recognized as being successful promotional endeavors for the brands that funded them in 2022 were:
  • Cisco’s Gaming Creator Campaign for Dungeons & Dragons, in which Cisco targeted the role-play gaming market and activated new players in the UK, France, and Germany;
  • Elevar Sports’ Instagram Campaign for Sportstyle Sneakers, in which Elevar showcased its new shoe sole technology by generating more buzz and engagement with its brand via high-profile Instagram influencers who have a large following of peers interested in athletic footwear;
  • Universal’s All-Access Campaign that was aimed at improving brand reach, increasing web traffic, and promoting Universal’s All-Access program during a six-week promotion that employed influencers to appeal to Universal’s audience via Instagram and Facebook by promoting movies and encouraging UAA signups.
  • Influencer marketing has evolved quite a bit over the past two decades since PQ Media published the groundbreaking Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) Forecast in 2007, the first-ever market intelligence report to clearly define, segment, size, analyze and project the growth of this fledgling, nebulous, and largely unmeasured business. Based on the success of that report, PQ Media in 2009 released the second edition of the WOMM Forecast at a time when social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, were still in their infancy, but gaining traction during a period when 90% of WOMM campaigns were managed by brand ambassadors recruited from target demographics to sample new products and extol their value to friends.

“Fast forward to 2023, and the term ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ is rarely used anymore, as it has been replaced by ‘influencer marketing,’ and we have evolved with this industry by greatly expanding our research scope across the globe, while drilling deeper into the growing number of media platforms, channels, strategies, and tactics used by brands and influencers to create emotional connections with target consumers,” said PQ Media CEO & Founder Patrick Quinn. “Influencer marketing has become a very effective promotional method to partner with prominent content creators to engage key demographics to achieve strategic marketing objectives. If executed well, influencer marketing is an invaluable piece of successful omnichannel campaigns because it helps brands improve their social media reputation with high-quality content and, ultimately, grow sales.”

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