The Future Of Influencer Marketing Is Augmented Reality
What we know for sure is this: influencers are dominating the attention market.
Imagine a world where you can interact with your favorite influencers from the digital realm, out in the real world.
As it stands, influencer marketing is a billion-dollar industry with nowhere to go but up. According to a study cited by Forbes, 84% of marketers will be executing influencer marketing campaigns this year. That is astounding, considering five years ago people didn’t even know what being an influencer on the Internet was.
But while this new industry is still stabilizing, and big brands are slowly allocating more and more of their budgets to high-impact social media influencers, it’s worth questioning where this industry will move next.
What we know for sure is this: influencers are dominating the attention market. They’re the ones creating the viral content. They’re the ones with millions and millions of followers, not the big brands—some do, but for the most part, consumers would rather watch real people. They’re more engaging. More entertaining. More relatable. Which is why brands are more than happy to sponsor them to make content featuring their product or mention them in one of their captions.
But what got me thinking about where influencer marketing could move next was the whole Pokémon Go craze. For a brief moment there, you couldn’t go anywhere without watching people run across the street to a nearby park in hopes of catching a rare Pokémon. There were meet-up groups for real life adventures. There were rivalries that came as a result of the three teams: Instinct, Mystic, and Valor (yellow, blue, and red, respectively). Pokémon Go and its augmented reality were pivotal in showing people the power of planting the digital world firmly into the real world.
That’s when I started thinking, “How would this work for a social media influencer?”
Imagine being able to take your phone and communicate with influencers in the real world—except the influencer is in another state or even another country. Influencer meet-ups are already a very popular activity, where a social media star will announce to their fans where they’ll be that day, prompting crowds of followers to show up to meet them and take pictures.
Pretty soon, influencers are going to be able to do that from anywhere.
As augmented reality continues to evolve, influencers will be able to hold things like meet-ups, or Q&A sessions, or hold contests with their fans and followers, without needing to be physically present. The same could be said for celebrities who want to invite as many of their followers as possible to a Q&A before a concert or show. Some people would buy tickets and arrive in person. The rest would show up to a disclosed location near them and tune in via augmented reality.
Or, if you really want to take it a step further: think about what Kim Kardashian’s massively popular app, Hollywood, would look like via augmented reality. That’s going to happen at some point. Maybe not with Kim K., but with some huge social media star—and it’s going to be groundbreaking.
As difficult as it may be to see right now, keep in mind that it wasn’t very long ago that the masses found it odd that people would post videos of themselves online, or create a profile on a social media network to share personal pictures. In the 2000s, this sort of behavior was for the outliers. Today, you’re shamed for not having a social media presence.
The same will happen with augmented and virtual reality—two mediums that are still very much in their early stages but have more than enough momentum to prove their potential. Massive companies like Facebook are investing heavily in virtual reality, and within a matter of years, it will become part of our everyday lives (in some capacity or another).
With how quickly influencer marketing has grown into a billion-dollar industry, it’s only a matter of time before these social media stars—incredibly talented at attracting and keeping people’s attention—dive into the possibilities that come with augmented and virtual realities. They will see it as an even more personal way of engaging with their fans and followers, much more so than the up-close and personal, vlog-style Stories on Instagram and Snapchat.
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