The rise of Influencer Marketing in 2023





A billboard competes for people’s attention, so does a targeted social ad; but, influencers have already monopolised attention. They are primed to promote a brand.

The galvanisation of the “influencer” was an alchemical mixture of the TikTok atomic bomb and the algorithms that drive flagship socials.

We may imagine an influencer as a champagne-toting, platinum-haired pseudo-celebrity who disingenuously “obsesses” over a different product each day. But in reality, this archetype doesn’t perform well on socials at all.

"People are spending an average of four hours a day on their phones, being entertained by their favourite creators". Jamie Ray, Co-Founder, Buttermilk.

The hottest influencer of 2023, is you. Consider a hobby you are passionate about: who can pitch it better to your friends, you, or a celebrity? The data suggests you, with five times the leads compared to the celebrity. We’re all influencers, whether we like it or not.

TikTok skewed the market towards relatability over aspiration. Influencers are becoming more and more grounded each day, stigmas are evaporating, and fast.

Influencer marketing is a rare thing; a marketing vertical that operates as a one-stop shop for building brand and revenue generation. And for marketers grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, there is the added bonus that it is more cost-effective than other marketing approaches.

During economic instability, consumers are side-eyeing brands. If they need convincing of the value of a brand, being bombarded with ads because it is doubling down on performance marketing, will be counterproductive.

Influencers are an evolution – an optimisation of marketing. ‘2.0’. And the cost-of-living crisis will accelerate this evolution.

Nano influencers will help increase the demand for high-value, peer-to-peer marketing. We’ll be seeing fewer corporations shelling out millions for big celebrity names to plug their products, and more ordinary people advocating them for a fraction of the cost. It cannot be overstated, content must hold utility as well as being relatable.

TikTok is the torchbearer for socials, everyone else is playing catchup. Instagram has assimilated the role of a TikTok clone, Youtube has adopted short-form content, BeReal has the torch, but what’s next? Twitter is on an LSD-trip, and if you listen closely to Facebook you’ll hear crickets.

Vertical content is clearly here to stay, although brands should be handing the reins to creators. Brand-produced content on socials is suffering from an average of 0.5%-1% engagement, while creator-led content can be as high as 13%. Faceless corporations need faces, a lot of them.

Livestream shopping is gaining popularity. For the uninitiated, it’s teleshopping on steroids.

The reason for the hype is that it’s a well-established field in mainland China. Accounting for 30% of all e-commerce, it contributed a whopping $161bn to the Chinese economy in 2020.

Social media is not widely accepted nor embraced as an e-commerce platform across the majority of the western world. The profit margins on UK livestream shopping efforts from the largest companies in the world have not produced the results, often £0 from 4-hour stream sessions (with paid traffic).

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old creator selling sweets from a shed in Birmingham is raking in higher profit margins than an unnamed billion-dollar company. This is the social landscape we live in. Trust and relatability are the foundation and it turns out that the TikTok consumer base trusts a youth in a shed, more than the famous brand.

I don’t anticipate livestream shopping will become mainstream until 2025. But the most profitable avenue for businesses hoping to join livestream e-commerce is through influencers – and leveraging their audiences as a shadow-retailer.

People are spending an average of four hours a day on their phones, being entertained by their favourite creators. That’s prime real estate.

As curbed marketing budgets are on the horizon for 2023, higher and faster ROI is at marketers’ fingertips with influencer marketing. The entire sales funnel, start to finish. Under one budget, one payment and one campaign.

So if there is one thing to change this year, it is your perception of influencers. Test the waters with them, and see your brand capitalise from any scale of investment.


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