Influencer marketing: How brands can prepare for the holiday season

Influencer marketing: How brands can prepare for the holiday season
Sep 30, 2021

It’s not time for holiday music—even if you’re counting down the days—but it is time to start thinking about holiday influencer plans. The holiday retail space has changed drastically over last year, with the online space continuing to expand and influencers realizing their added value.

If you’ve wondered if influencers' rates will increase because of this, the answer is a resounding yes! Keep reading for the top holiday influencer trends and data from and our tips for brands to prepare to work with influencers this holiday season.

The shift to online: Consumers search and shop for gifts online

Influencer-related holiday spend is forecasted to double year-over-year. In addition, 76% of consumers said they plan to do their holiday shopping online rather than in-store. If your product is purchased in stores, we suggest considering an eCommerce partnership like Instacart. Additionally, 71% of consumers said they plan to search for gifts on Instagram this year—compared to just 42% who plan to look in-store. Other social media platforms will have influence as well, as 31% of consumers say they will even use TikTok to search for gifts, showing how vital that platform has become to commerce.

Understand the value of influencer marketing

Influencers are effective drivers of awareness, sales, traffic, and consideration during the holiday season. Why? Influencer content is personal, relatable, and approachable. Influencer marketing is also cheaper for brands over most other channels or efforts, like a branded photoshoot.

Influencers are key to any marketing strategy now. They are no longer a small part of a larger brand strategy to disseminate messaging. They are the strategy—especially during the holiday season—that other marketing elements support. Influencer content can lead the way for other brand programs like TV, retail, and eCommerce.

However, growing influencer demand means increasing price tags. We’ve seen an increase in influencer rates in recent months—some have increased by 100%. As influencers continue to reach new audiences, they get pulled in many directions. They know their content is going to provide value, impact sales, and reach target audiences. And that influence is going to cost a premium. Influencers made an estimated $1.45 billion in Q4 alone. It’s worth noting 53% of influencers with 10,000-100,000 followers have increased their rates by 10-50% in the last year.

How brands can plan for the holiday season

Influencer marketing is no longer a small cost for brands. Influencers, rightfully as a vital element in any marketing strategy, are an entire line item in a budget. As a result, many brands have turned to long-term partnerships, and many are booked through 2022. Consider a long-term booking or contract with influencers to get a more stable rate when planning for 2022.

TIP: Act now and get in early for influencer “Gift Guides.” 66% of bloggers say they will not accept gift guide brand inclusions after October 15th

Remember, many influencers won’t work with a brand just once, for example, one promotion during the holiday season. A part of what makes influencer marketing work is that the audience trusts the influencers and trusts their suggestions are authentic. For that reason, influencers may require multiple touchpoints to ensure they can tell the story and share their experience with a product in a genuine way. Overall, influencer marketing and influencers are driving sales, and they know it. Don’t overlook these critical marketing magicians this holiday season.

ICF’s global marketing services agency focuses on helping your organization find opportunity in disruption.
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  1. Julia Rosinus
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