Social media star Nagma Mirajkar, who has 5.5 million followers on Instagram and over one million subscribers on YouTube, is busy this festive season. More companies are making a beeline to Mirajkar to plug their brands as they seek to put the pandemic behind and attract shoppers.
"Festive season is one of the busiest times of the year. The number of brands approaching (me) this year is definitely higher than the last and there is a nice mix of new and existing brands," the content creator said. can we name some brands? She is not willing to name the brands.
Food influencer Kuljyoti Dhingra, who has 309,000 followers on Instagram and 87,500 subscribers, on YouTube, agreed.
"The number of brands approaching (me) for the festive season has increased because brands are willing to spend on marketing after two years of ups and downs because of Covid-19 and lockdowns, now brands want more visibility and nothing is better than marketing through content creators."
She is working with brands like Mother Dairy, Magicpin and Amazon for this festive season.
Ad spending up on influencers
According to Kunal Kishore Sinha, cofounder chief operating officer of ClanConnect, an influencer marketing platform, brands are likely to spend around Rs 600 crore on influencer marketing in the festive season, which peaks with Diwali in November.
Pranav Panpalia, founder of OpraahFx, another marketing platform, estimates that brands have budgeted 20-30 percent more this festive compared to the last.
Apaksh Gupta, founder and chief executive officer of One Impression, said: "During the last festive season, we saw brands spending up to Rs 20 lakh. The average spends this year for the festive period, which includes Durga Pooja and Diwali, have gone up to Rs 50 - 75 lakh."
Ankit Agarwal, founder of Do Your Thng, a branded content marketplace, is seeing a similar increase by brands on ad spends on influencer marketing.
"During last year's festive season, four of the dozens of brands we worked with ran campaigns worth Rs 10 to 15 lakh a piece. And this was only the first month of the season's three-month run," he added.
And this year, he is seeing spending by brands increasing by 25 to 30 percent.
Ajay Kudva, CEO and founder of en:lyft, an influencer marketing firm, estimates an increase of 40 percent on ad spending by regular brands.
"The new cryptocurrency, fintech, social commerce categories are becoming the highest spenders this festive season as IPL (Indian Premier League) and T20 World Cup are also happening at the same time," he added.
So, which brand categories are showing the most interest to work with influencers this festive season?
Brands that are investing in influencers
"Gaming, lifestyle and fashion have developed incredibly well this year. A lot of international brands have also started investing in the Indian audience and understanding the value they bring to the table," said Hitarth Dadia, chief marketing officer (CMO) at NOFILTR Group, an incubator for social media influencers.
One Impression's Gupta noted that during the festive season, beauty, social commerce and packaged consumer goods are heavy on influencers. "We work with brands like Mamaearth, Plum, Meesho, Unilever and Nestle during the high peak festive seasons," he added.
Panpalia pointed out that nearly 45 percent of packaged consumer goods brands, known as fast moving consumer goods, spent 35-50 percent of their total marketing funds on influencer marketing last year.
"The ratio may be similar this year for the majority of the brands, but the total spending limit will be higher when compared to the previous year. Five to 10 percent of these FMCG brands, especially newly launched ones, are expected to spend about 60-70 percent of their total marketing budget on influencer marketing," he added.
New categories betting big on influencers
Then there are new categories that are banking on influencers.
"We’re seeing influencer marketing spends at up to 50 percent (of overall spend) for few categories like D2C (direct-to-consumer) and cryptocurrency," said Ritesh Ujjwal, founder of Kofluence.
The company is working with brands from fintech, jewelry, ethnic wear, med-tech and real estate categories this festive season.
Do Your Thng's Agarwal also said that new categories like cryptocurrency and D2C brands have woken up to the power of content creators, particularly finance influencers whom he calls 'finfluencers'.
"While we're assisting with influencer marketing campaigns for Havells and Salon, we're also collaborating with the likes of CoinDCX," he added.
Sinha said fitness brands were becoming very active during the festive season.
He added that the company that is currently working with brands like Godrej and auto brand MG Motors has seen the overall number of brands increasing from 12 last year to 28 this festive season.
Brands are also engaging with micro influencers as they seek to go hyperlocal in their conversations with consumers.
Micro influencers offer brands the advantages of strong reach and engagement with consumers.
INCA, an influencer and content marketing solution of media company Group M recently released India Influencer Marketing report 2021 which noted that nano and micro influencers had a high average engagement rate on social media platforms.
Nano influencers are categories of content creators who have 10,000 followers or fewer; micro influencers have 10,000 - 100,000 followers.
While nano influencers have an average engagement rate of 7 percent, for micro influencers the rate is 2.4 percent, followed by macro influencers at 1.8 percent, mega influencers at 2.4 percent and celebrity influencers at 1.8 percent.
Macro influencers are categorized as those content creators that have 100,000 to 1 million followers and mega influencers are those with over one million followers.
In terms of platforms, nano influencers have the highest reach on Instagram at 28.8 percent and micro influencers' average estimated reach is the highest on Facebook.
"Primary reason for the rise in influencer marketing is personalization and it helps in breaking the festive season clutter," Gupta said.