When it comes to consumer outreach, influencers are ruling the roost. And it is no surprise since influencer marketing has been an extremely popular route that brands have taken over the last decade.
To put it in perspective, the influencer advertising industry has grown by 355% in the last five years, and it is likely to keep growing rapidly as budget spends increase and marketers see stronger ROI.
According to data by AugustaFreePress, brands will spend a whopping $32.5 billion on influencer advertising in 2023 worldwide, almost hitting the $42 billion mark by 2025.
With around $5 billion being spent on influencer marketing in the U.S. for 2023, it is time for influencers to capitalize on audience attention by leveraging social commerce to address a brand’s marketing needs. As luck would have it, there’s a new player in town that expands the impact influencers have on consumers: live shopping.
Live shopping influencers can stay ahead of the game by tapping into a format that creates a real-time impact. Why and how? Let’s find out.
Expanding the playbook with livestream shopping
Livestream shopping has has been gaining momentum over the years. In 2022, live shopping sales in the U.S. were at an estimated $17 billion, and is expected to cross $55 billion by 2026.
While influencers are already well familiar the power of livestreaming, adding a commerce layer to it – like a live shopping event – gives them the opportunity to offer brand partners a new and different avenue; one that converts engagement to sales.
As the eCommerce landscape changes, brands increasingly want to leverage videos, primarily through live shopping. For an influencer, a live shopping collaboration offers something fresh not only to brand partners but for their audience as well.
Those who can grab on to the live shopping opportunity early can benefit tremendously since influencer marketing spends are a zero-sum game. From brand partnerships to affiliate programs, live shopping can be deployed by influencers to turn their wider audience into a captive consumer base.
With marketers constantly keen on measuring ROI, sales from a livestream shopping event effectively becomes a KPI that shows justice is being done to their influencer marketing initiatives.
Own the livestream shopping experience
Influencers are predominantly active on social media and other third-party platforms. However, changing times require influencers to unlock their true potential by personally owning the live shopping experience.
Here are some key benefits of the owned influencer live shopping experience:
1. Sidestepping social platforms
According to Hubspot, 71% of Gen Z consumers discover new products on social media. However, look beyond discovery and it’s obvious social media can be overwhelming for users, not to mention algorithm changes and restrictions that brands and influencers have to contend with.
Each social media platform is a walled garden that aims to preserve its dominance and prefers being serviced uniquely.
Instagram Reels, for example, is not keen on influencers uploading a video made on TikTok; in fact, such videos suffer low discovery on the explore page. This limits not only discovery but also engagement, and ultimately is detrimental to conversion.
Just as important is the fact that whatever little third-party data is shared by the social media platforms does not give a complete picture of user behavior. By contrast, a live shopping event on an influencer’s own website or digital property will allow them to collect and analyze their own first-party data. If users consent, data from livestream shopping events can also be shared with brand partners, and no brand marketer will pass up on that opportunity.
2. Leveraging the property of simulcasting
Just because influencers want to taking ownership of their digital content library does not mean they have to completely break away from social media. After all, as mentioned above, social media still remains king when it comes to product discovery.
With simulcasting, influencers can use their own website or a brand’s dedicated channel to conduct live shopping events.
Influencers can even build a dedicated digital property for live shopping events that are simultaneously cast across multiple social media platforms and other third-party websites.
So, why simulcast a live shopping event? Because…
- It saves time, money, and effort while still reaching a wide audience – across social platforms – simultaneously in real-time
- All the traffic is driven to and anchored on the influencer or brand’s own digital property. Firework brand partners have noted a 5x increase in session time per page via livestream shopping events, and influencers can harness it too
- Access to first-party data and insights can be used to better plan improved content for a future live shopping stream
American Girl – Enhancing Livestream Shopping with Simulcasting
American Girl scaled its viewership numbers exponentially with a simulcast for its 2022 ‘Girl of the Year’ announcement and live shopping event. Simulcasting across social platforms and media partners’ websites garnered 11x more views than regular livestreams, with an engagement rate exceeding 25%.
An influencer can deliver such – or even better – results by taking ownership of their livestream’s simulcast.
3. Owning the live shopping event content
As much as they’d like to, influencers never truly get to own their livestream content when creating or directly broadcasting on third-party platforms. YouTube, for example, does not have a download archive for a livestream longer than 12 hours.
The ability to to own the content from live shopping campaigns on an influencer’s website completely changes the game.
It gives creators the power to replay, repurpose, and redeploy content on their own terms; all this while effectively using social media as a distribution – not a hosting – channel.
Repurposing livestream shopping content can create multiple touchpoints to drive online sales. For example, snippets from the live event or highlights of the livestream can be turned into shoppable videos, i.e. shoppable content for an audience who did not or could not make a purchase in real-time from the livestream shopping event.
4. Building better brand relationships
When on their own digital property, influencers can make the most of their brand relationships without being patrolled by social media norms.
We are now at a juncture where 72% of consumers admit making purchase decisions influenced by something they saw on Instagram. Stats like these make leading brands feel like they are overly dependent on social platforms, and they see livestream shopping as a way of taking back control.
Live shopping macro influencers have completely autonomy to create brand campaigns, address brand requests, and customize ideas on their own website – all key ingredients to a influencer marketing campaign that results in huge success. Moreover, even micro influencers can break free from adhering to the restrictions of a third-party platform to bring a campaign to fruition.
Picking the right livestream shopping partner
The right livestreaming partner for an influencer will help them effectively add the commerce layer to their livestreams. Firework helps influencers, brands, and retailers to effortlessly leverage video commerce and boost audience engagement in a way that affects every step of the sales funnel – from discovery to purchase.
What does Firework offer?
- Ability to simulcast livestreams across platforms keeping the influencer’s own website as the primary focus, where consumers can make the actual purchase.
- Performing all the behind-the-scenes tech heavy-lifting, so creators can do what they do best – making amazing content.
- Firework’s In-Video Checkout lets customers add items to their cart and make purchases while watching a livestream, without leaving the media player.
- Creation Cloud, driven by AI-powered editing, allows for effortless short and vertical video creation at scale; including the ability to turn live shopping content into shoppable videos, including in vertical video format.
The influencer marketing sector is getting increasingly competitive by the day.
Live shopping can be the anchor that will help influencers stand out from the competition, while the ones not employing it risk missing out on greater opportunities.
Additionally, influencers can encourage brands to take up live shopping as a part of their larger video commerce efforts, not only to maximize their reach but also to unlock the full potential of their marketing efforts.
What is live shopping and how can influencers help with live shopping?
Live shopping is a type of eCommerce where retailers use live video to showcase and sell their products to customers. Influencers can help with live shopping by partnering with retailers to promote their products during live streams. Influencers bring a built-in audience and can help retailers reach new customers and increase sales.