One of Netflix's most popular series, Squid Game, rapidly gained popularity in India when influencers created a whole range of content around the South Korean survival drama.
Influencers including fashion blogger and content creator Dolly Singh and YouTuber Mythpat came together to play a version of Squid Game hosted by Netflix India, capturing the imagination of audiences.
Like Netflix, brands from many categories are banking on influencers to reach their target audiences, expanding the reach of influencer marketing this year.
The influencer marketing industry grew 40 percent in 2021; it is estimated to keep up its growth in 2022, increasing revenue from Rs 900 crore to Rs 1,200-1,300 crore.
A recent report by Group M India, a media investment company, said digital will emerge as the largest medium in 2022 and in that one key segment, influencer marketing will see significant growth in the coming years. The report expects influencer marketing to double by 2025 to Rs 2,200 crore.
Sahil Chopra, CEO of digital marketing agency iCubesWire, said social media influencers have grown so much in popularity that many of them are now being considered for inclusion by Indian brands in mainstream marketing campaigns.
"This growth is expected to continue, especially in sectors such as aviation, travel, hospitality, mobile, technology, and consumer durables," he added.
Influencer marketing companies like OpraahFx, Socio Spy Media, AnyTag and ClanConnect are expecting the number of brands in their clientele to grow significantly this year.
"Number of brands for influencer marketing service increased by almost 5X last year versus 2020. We crossed the revenue generated in the whole of 2020 in the first quarter of 2021. This year we are expecting a similar growth," Pranav Panpalia, founder of OpraahFx, told Moneycontrol.
"With direct-to-consumer (DTC) and crypto brands getting launched more frequently than ever, the preference for influencer marketing will only increase. If government regulations for crypto are streamlined this year, the number can even touch 10X," he said.
Panpalia added that in 2021 brands were keener on doing long-term and repeat deals on a monthly basis with influencers.
The number of brands in Socio Spy Media’s client list increased from 7-to-8 a month in June-July to 20-to-22 a month in August. The company's founder and CEO Minesh Santani expects brand interest to continue this year.
Influencer marketing is now one of the most preferred ways of raising brand awareness and sales, said Aayush Tiwari, vice president of talent management and music business at Monk Entertainment.
A survey conducted in February among 250 marketers by iCubesWire said 80 percent of marketers find influencers effective in spreading the word about products and services.
Influencers are set for an increase in their deal sizes as more companies, from skin care and health care products maker Emami to sports shoes and accessories retailer Puma, approach them to market their products.
"As brands are now preferring long-term associations with influencers, the size of brand deals will only increase. We are expecting a cost surge of about 1.5-3X in terms of exclusive long-term deals with category-A creators," said Panpalia.
An emerging trend is that of influencers serving as marketers in return for equity in brands, Santani said.
"The likes of BeerBiceps, Prakhar Gupta, have already started doing angel investments as creators. And there's a huge wave of these deals coming the creators’ way," he added.
ClanConnect data shows that in India, out of 5 million content creators who have more than a 1,000 followers, 0.5 million are marketable influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers. More than 10,00,000 influencers start earning money through sponsored content for the first time every year.