Big brands have noticed this, as influencers can gain loyal social media followings that surpass those of many Hollywood celebrities. In turn, some top influencers now make more than S&P 500 CEOs. As more Gen Z makers enter the workforce – seeking opportunities beyond traditional models – the industry is poised to continue growing at a breakneck pace. We spoke to Famous Birthdays founder Evan Britton, whose platform tracks and measures the industry, as well as several emerging influencers about what to look out for in the coming year.
1. Gaming influencers are growing
There is now more game content than ever. According to TwitchTracker, which catalogs streamers, 2021 was the most popular year ever for Twitch, with an average of more than 3.1 million daily viewers at its peak in May 2021. The January 2022 figures (2.9 million) are not far behind.
“Twitch streamers have very engaged fans,” Britton says. He cited Twitter as an example of a platform where many brands and personalities “find it hard to get engaged,” but where many streamers routinely manage to pull in “thousands of likes and comments.”
“Their fans are so involved with them because they watch them for hours,” he added. “They just want more content.”
While the demand for game content is on the rise, you can expect game makers to become more strategic about reusing content in 2022.
“As a streamer, one of the biggest things right now is finding ways to keep growing while being efficient,” said gamer and Twitch streamer.
Nick Bartel. In the past, influencers in the gaming world spent many hours livestreaming their adventures, but when the game was over, so was the stream, and few did anything with the resulting content.
Expect creators to look for ways to drive growth to platforms, even when they’re not streaming. Bartel said he is looking for an editor who can reuse much of the live content he creates.
“One of the bigger concerns is burnout during airtime,” says Bartel. “It’s part and parcel of it at first, but the last thing you want to do after you stream is edit. You want to have some balance in your life.”
TinaKitten/ Famous Birthdays
Gaming influencers from famous birthdays to watch
2. The Blockchain Provides a New Source of Income and Experimentation
In recent years, influencers largely relied on advertising dollars to monetize their massive audience and provide them with an income. More recently, however, the blockchain – including cryptocurrency and NFTs – has stepped in, offering a new way to create a community while increasing revenue.
“The growth of cryptocurrency followed by the explosion of NFTs was a major trend in 2021 that will continue into 2022,” Britton said. “Last year creators sold digital art and communities sold limited edition collectibles that offered unique access and clout. This year the offer will be even more creative.”
Britton said entertainment and engagement are one of the driving forces behind this trend. NFTs, or non-replaceable tokens, provide influencers with a way to reward their most engaged users, as well as a way for the public to literally invest in the creators they love. “I think it’s a fun way for people to get involved and be part of a community,” he noted. As creators build their own engaged communities, NFTs can provide them with additional methods of monetization.
But influencers’ interest in crypto has a downside. Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather were among a number of influencers accused of participating in an online pump-and-dump crypto scam. TikTok has since banned promotional content related to financial services, including cryptocurrency, by adding them to its list of “globally banned industries.”
It remains to be seen how effective NFTs will be as an investment vehicle, but expect interest in the space to continue to grow.
Famous Birthday Influencers with NFT Projects to Watch
3. More fun with food
Food has emerged as a growing subset of the influencer economy, and several new platforms launched in 2021 are looking to seize that growing interest. Large and small restaurants have taken note.
“A huge tailwind on TikTok is that creators offer their unique recipes and fun take on food,” said Britton, who expects this trend to continue into 2022. “TikTok is about fun, short videos. Everyone loves food and a lot of people love making food. It just has a lot of natural product-market fit with TikTok.”
Videos showing food can play an important role in convincing consumers to try new restaurants or menu items. In a survey by restaurant marketing company MGH, 36% of TikTok users said they visited a restaurant or ordered food after seeing a TikTok video featuring that establishment.
influencer Cassie Sharp found success in 2021 by creating bite-sized content around food challenges, such as its popular “five random ingredients” challenge.
“I try to find new challenges that bring similar engagement, and I make short videos and turn them into long content so I can take some of those views on my shorts and apply them to my long videos,” she said, pointing to a trend common to creators across industries: content repurposing.
“The best thing about synopsis is you can throw it out and see what’s going on,” Sharp added. “If I get an audience for a specific short video, if I start making long videos, people are already comfortable with it.”
Her biggest takeaway yet: Clear bowls are essential for creating compelling food videos. “It’s just more interesting to watch the butter and brown sugar fuse together,” she said.
Lisa Nguyen/ Famous Birthdays
Food-centric celebrity birthday influencers to watch out for
4. Social shopping is lifting e-commerce
The pandemic helped bolster e-commerce’s burgeoning advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. As more influencers adopt live streaming platforms, expect the nature of online shopping to change.
“Facebook, Instagram and TikTok each facilitate live shopping, and YouTube launched live streams to promote shopping ahead of the holiday season of 2021,” noted Britton, who added that he expects live shopping to become more popular in 2022. “It took a while to come here, but it’s growing.”
Gen Z definitely wants to buy in real time. Survey results of the Instagram Trend Report 2022 shows that 27% of users aged 13 to 24 shop directly on social media.
Instagram’s native affiliate tool is just one example of this trend in action. The platform began testing the tool in 2021, encouraging creators to include shoppable content not only in their feeds, but also in their Instagram Stories and live streams.
Nathaly Cuevas/ Famous Birthdays
Famous Birthday Ecommerce Influencers to Watch
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