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Hyperlocal micro-influencers are disrupting the Indian influencer economy and the number of content creators in the country will cross 100 million in 2023, as per Zefmo Media’s India Influence Report 2022.

The report states that brands are tapping into these hyperlocal micro influencers' sticky engagement quotient to further strengthen their connection with their customers. Zefmo has tried to lay out how the influencer marketing space is radically transforming itself to provide monetisation avenues for hyperlocal micro-influencers across India’s metros and hinterland.

The report also underscores the ‘normalisation’ of mega-influencer fees, alongside visible trends in the form of fractional brand ambassadorship, and metaverse exploration.  

The India Influence Report 2022 is a study of more than 1500 micro-influencers across 35 cities who shared their views on a range of topics, including brand collaborations, choice of platform, content formats, and future plans.

In the previous reports, ranging from the year 2017 to 2022, some of the top takeaways included - i) the emergence of video as the dominant content medium, ii) the popularity of short-video format amongst both influencers and their audience groups, iii) the rise of vernacular content among influencers, iv) increasing share of voice of micro-influencers, and v) finance as a major influencer content genre.

In the current edition of the India Influence Report, Zefmo has incorporated inputs from micro-influencers to capture the essence of what a majority of new and emerging influencers are experiencing on a daily basis across India. 

Shudeep Majumdar, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Zefmo, said, “In our most exhaustive influencer market report yet, our team went both broad and deep to collect inputs from a wide variety of emerging content creators. These influencers are at the heart of the creators’ economy and will dictate the content creation trends in times to come. It is heartening to learn that hyperlocal micro-influencers are pushing the boundaries of content creation while effectively monetising them. Also, this year’s report sheds light on some of the emerging trends for 2023 which marketers may find useful in planning their marketing mix.” 

Sushmita Verma, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Zefmo, said, “At Zefmo, we have been working with vernacular, hyperlocal micro-influencers since 2017, but 2022 can be truly termed as the inflexion year for these influencers. With a growing base of over 1,50,000 influencers, Zefmo has been actively engaging hyperlocal micro-influencers to brands of all flavours and sizes. And it gives us immense joy to handhold micro-influencers and brands to traverse the mutually beneficial journey hand-in-hand.” 

The insights from the survey of India Influence Report 2022 are:

  • Choice of social media platform: 38% - YouTube, 36% - Instagram, 11% - Twitter, 6% - Facebook, 9% - others.
  • The ideal time period for videos: 23% - less than one minute, 27% - between one and three minutes, 22% - more than 5 minutes, 33% - can’t say.
  • Sectoral split of brand campaigns: 53% - FMCG, 17% - D2C, 14% - Electronic devices, 9% - Finance, 7% - others.
  • Preferred content language mix by the brands: 29% - Hindi and other regional languages, 38% - mix (bilingual) of English and regional languages, 33% - English.
  • Campaign duration and payout: 44% - increase in campaign duration and hike in payout, 34% - reduction in both campaign duration and payout (vs 2021), 22% - no change in either campaign duration or payout.

Influencer marketing trends, 2023 and beyond, as per the report, are:

1 Metaverse exploration (NFTs) - Influencers, including those who have recently embarked on their social media journey, are increasingly focussing on how they can create multiple channels to both better engage and monetise via their presence in the metaverse as well as the creation of NFTs. While they remain cognisant of the market fluctuations when it comes to cryptocurrencies, a majority of influencers are bullish regarding the long-term prospects of cryptos and their positive impact on NFT valuations.

2 Fractional Brand Ambassadorship - Mega influencers, and even celebrities who have now embraced influencer marketing, are now open to the idea of fractional brand ambassadorship allowing smaller brands to afford them for brand promotion. Going forward, influencers and celebrities will be evaluating endorsing non-competing brands at a fraction of their brand ambassadorship fee due to this innovative model. 

3 Hyperlocal Micro Influencer Monetisation - Brands across India are now embracing the power of micro-influencers to reach out to their customers. Moreover, brands are now relying on hyperlocal micro-influencers to talk in regional language and approach better relationships with their customers. In doing so, brands are forging a more personal relationship with their customers via these influencers. In turn, such influencers are able to monetise their content across established platforms. This phenomenon is adding to the democratisation of the influencer economy. 

4 Merchandising and Productisation - Influencers are keen to monetise their personal brand by promoting their range of merchandise. In addition, influencers are also converting their content streams into ‘products’, such as training courses and knowledge repositories. Over time, content streams have the potential to become knowledge banks on topics ranging from travelogues to coding. 

5 Brand Agnostic Advocacy - Influencers are associating themselves with multiple brands without any particular affinity towards a certain sector. In fact, influencers are now embracing brands from various backgrounds that are more akin to their content genre rather than endorsing brands that are alike. On the brand side too, marketers are more open towards engaging with influencers whose content comes across as unique and has a high relatability factor with their audience.