More than a third of Indian brands have doubled their budget for social media influencers over the past year.
Such is the obsession with social media in India that its content creator industry itself is estimated to grow 25% to $290.3 million by 2025, valuation advisory firm Kroll said in a report. Having received a major boost during the covid-19 pandemic that sparked massive digitization, influencer marketers now help brands reach a large audience at a low cost, according to Kroll’s report.
“Marketers are spending over 10% of their annual digital marketing budgets on influencer marketing to tap into the regional reach provided by influencers,” Divyanshu Singh, JSW Sports COO, told Kroll. Companies are even tapping into regional language campaigns with influencers, Singh said.
India has nearly 80 million content creators today, which includes video streamers, influencers, and bloggers.
A survey by a digital marketing agency iCubesWire revealed that buying decisions of about 35% of respondents were driven by influencer posts, reels, and videos on popular social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Deccan Herald reported in January.
Many brands choose influencers over even A-listed celebrities, given the higher return on investment, Kroll’s report said. Experts also see a huge potential to raise brand awareness through them.
However, early birds such as Prajakta Koli, Kusha Kapila, and Bhuvan Bam have already moved on to mainstream entertainment. But others—nano-influencers and micro-influencers—are still in the game.
Rupal Singh Chauhan, for instance, creates content in the fashion and accessories, lifestyle, and food and beverages sectors. With an engagement rate of 178% and 23,100 followers on Instagram, she has collaborated with brands like Farmley, Thela Gaadi, B Burger, KIA India, Vogzy, and more.
Similarly, Yash Chokshi is a travel and lifestyle photographer who has a more than 145% engagement rate on Instagram. He has worked with top brands such as Apple, Sony, Lonely Planet, and FujifilmX India.
Nano-influencers, the ones with less than 10,000 followers, attracted maximum engagement on Instagram in 2022, according to data by affable.ai, an artificial intelligence-powered influencer marketing platform. However, micro-influencers, with their 10,000-50,000 followers, had the largest audience on Instagram and YouTube, although their engagement rate was lower.
India’s influencer marketing industry needs regulation to avoid the misrepresentation of facts. In January, India’s consumer affairs ministry announced that any misleading advertising would attract a fine of up to $60,700 or a suspension of accounts for up to two years.
“Influencers will need to self-regulate and participate in policymaking to ensure a positive impact on the industry. More types of content creators will enter the space and the number of influencers will spike in 2023,” said Vijay Subramaniam, CEO and founder of Collective Artists Network, a talent management company.
It is a time, he said, of “more conscious, mindful collaborations” as creators are increasingly open to taking up entrepreneurship roles or being a part of a brand team.