Influencer Marketing 2020: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Going

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Influencer Marketing Best Practices

Even though influencer marketing is expected to become a $10 billion dollar industry in 2020, it is still an emerging field. With early adapters grossing more sales than they ever could have imagined, it’s apparent that influencer marketing is more than just a short-lived fad. So what is in store for influencer marketing for 2020? Here’s a look.

Why Influencer Marketing Works

Initially, digital marketers weren’t entirely clear on why influencer marketing was taking off so quickly. The early influencers demonstrated that personal recommendations were simply more attractive to buyers than traditional advertising.

Today, we know more about why influencer marketing works so well in the 21st Century.

Scientific Proof: The Psychology of Influence

In our March article, The Psychology of Influence, we noted that…

The phenomenon of influencer marketing is not new. The method of using highly influential individuals to promote a product or service has been around for decades.

What has changed now though, is the way it is carried out and the type of influencers being used. The strategy today is highly personalized and influencers are much more approachable than ever before.

They Psychology of Influence

Advances in the psychology of influence are telling us more about why people buy what they buy. Branded voices only accomplish so much, as consumers recognize them as naturally biased. Consumers simply don’t trust businesses like they used to. Ultimately, this means that brands must produce quality products/services, and then lean on the endorsements of objective influencers.

In today’s fast-paced world, decision-making is more challenging. The psychology of influence works because these influencers not only provide an objective endorsement, they also build communities of like-minded people with similar problems.

Financial Proof: Influencer Marketing ROI

The last time we examined the future of influencer marketing, we found that:

  • The ROI from influencer marketing was 11 times higher than conventional forms of marketing.
  • 49% of people trusted the recommendations of influencers for their purchase decisions.
  • It is one of the fastest methods of acquiring customers online.

Thanks to 2019 being a great year for influencer marketing, we are able to dig a little deeper to better understand the revenue potential of influencer marketing. For instance, the Digital Marketing Institute found that:

  • Over 85% of women buy after seeing an influencer’s endorsement on social media.
  • Influencer marketing campaigns see a 6.5 times return on investment. That is, “businesses earn $6.50 for each dollar spent on influencers.” These numbers are even higher for above-average influencers.
  • 60% of shoppers are actually consulting social media while in stores.

Additional advances in our influencer marketing software here at GRIN have increased the role of artificial intelligence. This takes away the tedious, manual labor of engagement metrics, finding new influencers that are perfect for your brand, and campaign management.

The Future of Influencer Marketing & Content Marketing

Consumers still prefer to read all about their problems and goals online before making purchases. Content marketing of the future is going to marry with influencer marketing a great deal. The information available online – along with influencer endorsements – will feed the public’s desire to be the ultimate, empowered buyer.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is any third party mention, customer engagement, or product review that features your brand. Influencer marketing is the pinnacle of user-generated content, because customers get to see their favorite influencer use your products/services and publicly endorse them.

The best content marketers actively seek feedback from customers and influencers through call-to-actions, incentives to leave honest reviews, and influencer marketing campaigns.

Boosts in Website SEO

Google (and other search engines) are getting smarter. Black hat techniques – attempts to “play the algorithms” – result in ranking penalties. For white hat search engine optimization (SEO) – that is, publishing great content, link building, user-generated content, etc. – influencer and content marketing work together for better search engine rankings.

Hashtags, influencer backlinks, and more not only increase revenues but they also, directly and indirectly, boost website views and SEO.

The Future of Influencer Marketing & Social Media

There are literally hundreds of social media channels competing for users. For those building influencer marketing campaigns, the five social media channels below outperformed the rest in 2019 and are poised for growth in 2020.


There is a lot of buzz over Instagram’s decision to hide post likes to users, while influencers may still access all their own metrics. This will increase engagement authenticity and allow marketers to find those influencers with greater revenue potential.


Facebook is a dynamic digital world for contests and influencer-sponsored posts. The potential for words, photos, and live video stream empower influencers to get their message out with maximum engagement.


Twitter’s ingenious hashtag search feature is helping marketers find influencers like never before. Thought leaders, experts, celebrities, networkers, and customers – they’re all there “hashtagging” with quality user-generated content.


TikTok is for Millennials what Twitter was for Baby Boomers: it’s what the young people are all about. But as Boomers quickly learned, the “young people” are the new buyers. As such, influencers are infiltrating this space with fun, creative videos. This hot social media channel allows for advanced, intuitive video editing for the not-so-advanced user.


Is Steemit the new Reddit or a cryptocurrency site? Most are not quite sure but that it may be both.
Influencers and non-influencers are using Steemit to share content for upvotes and engagement. The more engagement, the more they make. Forward-thinking marketers are putting two and two together, and now Steemit influencers are also making money as the lead in an influencer marketing campaign. At the same time, brands get to increase their sales.

Closing Thoughts

If your brand has only made modest use of influencer marketing this past year, it’s time for you to seriously consider upgrading your approach. Marketers that commit fully to campaigns featuring influencers enjoy higher sales and invaluable product feedback for the next iteration.

Additionally, as more marketers flood the influencer marketing arena, only those marketers with the best tools will be able to compete. In times past, manually measuring engagement or using Excel spreadsheets to manage campaigns worked fine. Today, digital marketers need software that will do more for less in order to scale their business.

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