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Reels, Shorts, whatever the platform of choice, the short video boom has well and truly swept the nation. According to the GroupM INCA report on influencer marketing, short-format video is by far the most popular category among brands and consumers

Key insights from the survey:

Short-form videos and Live Streaming create maximum end-user impact.

Social Commerce continues to be relevant in a rapidly changing IM Landscape with over 55% of respondents convinced of its staying power

Metaverse is gaining traction and acceptability as the trend of the future, a view endorsed by over 35% of survey respondents.

IG reels are the most sought-after format for most of the respondents.

Short-form video is by far and away the most adopted “new” trend by brands with 90% of Survey respondents acknowledging that it is already a part of their 2022 IM Strategy.

Livestream, with over 45% of respondents indicating that it is part of their 2022 IM strategy, has leapfrogged other trends like Audio and Social Commerce.

Most of the respondents have already incorporated or want to incorporate short format content followed by live streaming.

Short-Form videos (typically between 15 seconds and 2 minutes) are all the rage. India is home to over 640 million internet users (Bain & Co Report, “Online Videos in India"). Short-form videos (SFV) cater to this large consuming base because it reflects the narrow attention spans of the digital generation and challenge content creators to put creativity and “viral possibility” at the centre of their ideation.

With TikTok being banned in India, the mantle rests on players like Moj, Josh and Sharechat, each one of which is a Unicorn and focuses heavily on the Indian market and helps unleash the creative talent of at least 50 million content creators (Bain & Co Report). The influencers who can make a difference through format, are those whose content is original, speaks authentically to their followers and whose identity enables them to transcend barriers of language and location.

"7 seconds – that's all it takes to make a first impression," as per Princeton researchers. In the hyper-stimulated digital world, we live in today. Influencers have mastered the art of making those seconds count. And it is no longer about just high production quality or scripts. Influencers like Tik Tok Khaby Lame and YouTube's Beluga have shown us how authenticity and unique style are just as crucial with GenZ.

With India embracing vernacular social, the influencer space is no longer a Downtown Abbey with the Instagram royals and the rest of the social creators languishing in the basement. With Hindi stars like Bhuvan Bam and Ajay Nagar (@carryminati) to a Tamil-speaking Naveen Polishetty and Telugu star Priya Varrier, regional is the new cool with brands vying for local tie-ups, especially in music and food. We are already seeing influencer content increase as mainstream video ads and OOH hoardings further blur the lines of influencer marketing. The future is 60 secs of pure original regional content, ranging from sports to movies to politics, and this is a wave that no one can stop.

Surabhi and Samriddhi, social media influencers, said, “As per our content analysis, if we can grab the follower's attention within 6-10 secs, then the viewer will watch the entire content. Hence, our primary focus is to start with the engaging portion and then follow with the storyline or information that we want to depict. That also gives the content a bit more structure and makes it easier for us to conceptualise or write the script. We feel that each video format has its pros and cons. For a 60-sec video piece, even a simple phone shot video can go viral. Its short duration gives a great opportunity to everyone out there to start showing their talent or life and become an influencer.”

Live commerce and its impact

Live Commerce has had a dream run on the global stage, especially in developed markets like the US, where the ability to tie in Influencer impact with the ability to select and purchase on the go has made it possibly one of the most important IM mechanisms of the future.

The Indian landscape, while fully cognizant of Live Commerce and adopting it, albeit a bit slowly compared to developed markets, will have more Live Commerce-based IM in the coming years. The trend has begun to catch on and the importance of it is not to be understated in the Indian context, with its burgeoning population of digital consumers.     

Live commerce helps brands build consumer engagement, and real-time purchases and also impacts the top and bottom lines.                                                              

A few elements that impact Live Commerce are articulated below:

Technology synergies

Live Commerce can have great symbiotic growth with the advent and adoption of technologies like AR/VR, digital avatars et al. Integrating bleeding-edge tech with Live Commerce presents a unique value proposition which will form a part of the medium-term future of the trend in India.

Nano, micro and macro influencer impact                            

These three types of Influencers have the most significant impact and credibility in the IM consumer space and Live Commerce helps accentuate their natural authenticity through its own novelty as a medium. As Influencers understand and adopt Live Commerce, this is likely to be a powerful indication of the direction IM is likely to head in the coming years.

“Live commerce, in my view, is the most exciting industry to work in today. The global tailwinds of 5G, the metaverse, Web 3.0, and post-Covid digitisation have created the perfect storm for live commerce to take off, and in India, we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg so far. We’re seeing conversion rates of 10-15% more when influencers are used and considerably higher viewership,” said Kaizad Hansotia, Founder and CEO, SWIRL Live Shopping.

Influencing with creativity

Influencer Marketing lends a different nuance and approach to ‘creativity’ in brand campaigns as the influencer can speak a brand language or tonality that a traditional advertising campaign may not be able to emulate. The lightness of the message can give brands flexibility in their message and thus, help them push boundaries of what is considered kosher. This doesn’t simply mean running campaigns that go against core brand ethos, but creating a hybrid tonality which can be used carefully and purposefully to activate key audiences. Creativity doesn’t need to be tied to the traditional perception of cracking a singular blockbuster idea, but using the available influencer personality and reach to achieve a conscious marketing objective.

How to create a memorable influencer marketing campaign?                                                    

Recollecting stand-out or memorable influencer campaigns is a tougher task than recalling the last dozen or so advertising campaigns that made a mark on the audience.                                        

Creating something which will “go viral” - this is the “high” that every influencer campaign chases. To craft and communicate a brand message, delivered by a trusted voice, which is engaging and hits the right notes while generating interest in the content is no mean feat.

According to the GroupM INCA report, the ‘SIMPLE’ formula can be applied while ideating and building an influencer campaign:

S for storytelling: Influencers are skilled storytellers, use them that way. Even the smallest content piece should have a story.

I for Inspire: Compelling delivery which makes the audience act immediately.

M for mean it, be authentic: Everyone eats the same bread, so to consider they would not see through a paid campaign where the influencer is just delivering the message without meaning it would be a harachiri. Let your product get woven into the influencer’s signature content.

P for persona: Selecting the right influencer - the right personality which resonates with your brand is also a key ingredient, often marketers just pick up someone because he/she is a huge star or has followers running into millions, more followers equal better reach is not true. Herd or being heard- the choice is yours.

L for long-term relationships: Get their skin in the game, don’t keep changing influencers with every campaign, establish a long-term relationship with influencers, and get them more invested in your brand, because they helped you create it.

E for emotions: A successful campaign is always insight-driven, if you can touch any emotional chord, you’ve got a winner. Ps-Emotions don’t always mean moist eyes...happiness, and surprise are also emotions, use them well.

Harsh Beniwal, a social media content creator, commented, “There is a reason the brand looks forward to collaborating with you. They like your content, your audience is right for them, and they are well aware of the content that you do. In such an understanding, both parties have good scope to express what they want the communication to be and what is the best possible way to make it happen. Ultimately, both the influencer and the brand want good engagement. One crucial pointer I follow when I collaborate with a brand is ensuring that the "Reletability factor," which is my niche, does not get hampered. The brand and I both have a story to share, and making the content funny and relatable helps with that.”

He further said, “Personally, I feel that the brand's creative interference does not hamper the content. Of course, the brand will have pointers of communication that they want to convey in a certain way, and I feel since we know our audience the best, it is our creativity that will make it happen for the brand and us as an influencer.”

Content@BuzzInContent.com