South African brands are riding the influencer marketing wave, according to recent report

Published Jul 10, 2024


A new wave is sweeping across social media platforms. Influencers, individuals who share their lifestyles, passions and expertise online, are gaining significant popularity.

These trendsetters are not just internet celebrities, they are shaping trends, sparking conversations and influencing consumer choices.

From fashion and beauty to travel and food, these influencers are capturing the attention of a diverse audience eager to explore new ideas and experiences.

The global influencer marketing industry is on track to reach an impressive $22.2 billion (R401.8bn) by 2025, affirming its enduring significance in the marketing world.

According to the latest The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2024, South Africa is experiencing a rapid evolution in this field. Local brands are gearing up to leverage this growth through digital strategies and by building meaningful connections with consumers.

The report indicates that 60% of brands currently invest in influencer marketing plans to boost their budgets in 2024, underscoring the sector’s pivotal role in contemporary marketing tactics.

Influencer marketing continues to surpass traditional channels in effectiveness. A striking 85% of survey respondents now consider influencer collaborations highly effective, marking a notable increase in confidence from previous years.

This confidence is driving brands to allocate more substantial portions of their marketing budgets to influencer partnerships.

TikTok has emerged as the front runner in influencer engagement, adopted by 69% of brands in this space. It significantly outstrips platforms like Instagram (47%), YouTube (33%), and Facebook (28%).

These platforms’ appeal lies in their ability to deliver visually compelling, short-form video content that resonates deeply with audiences, reinforcing their influence in shaping consumer trends and preferences.

South African influencer market. Picture: Supplied

There's a noticeable trend towards smaller influencers, with 44% of brands opting to collaborate with nano-influencers (1k – 10k followers) and 26% with micro-influencers (10k –100k followers).

These influencers are prized for their high engagement rates and authentic connections with their followers, making them increasingly pivotal in brand strategies.

“South African brands are increasingly seeing the value in these partnerships, tapping into niche markets and building stronger bonds with their audiences,” says Pieter Groenewald, CEO of the Nfinity Influencer Group.

Local brands aren’t just following global trends; they're setting new standards. Albert Makoeng, managing Director of Nfinity Influencer Group, says: “South African brands have always been leaders in innovation. Influencer marketing offers a unique chance for brands of all sizes to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways.

“By harnessing the strengths of our diverse influencer community, brands can achieve impressive results that showcase their innovative approaches.”

The report also highlights that nearly a quarter of respondents plan to allocate over 40% of their total marketing budget to influencer campaigns.

This substantial investment underscores the increasing trust and reliance on influencer marketing as a core strategy for enhancing brand engagement and driving sales.

However, despite the promising potential, there are still challenges. Identifying the right influencers, measuring ROI (return on investment) and managing campaigns effectively remain top concerns for brands.

Yet, advancements in AI and machine learning are providing solutions: 63% of brands plan to use AI in executing their influencer campaigns, with 55% using AI for influencer identification.

These tools are essential for providing detailed metrics on engagement rates, conversions, and influencer media value, ensuring every campaign's success.

Groenewald says, “We’ve developed sophisticated tools to help brands navigate these challenges. By providing detailed analytics and insights, we empower brands to make data-driven decisions and maximise their influencer marketing ROI.

“Our platform connects brands with the right creators, ensuring that every collaboration is strategic and impactful.”

The report forecasts continued expansion in the use of AI and machine learning to enhance influencer marketing strategies. These technologies will improve influencer matching, and campaign optimization, and provide deeper insights into consumer behaviour.

The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2024 paints an optimistic picture of the future of influencer marketing. With its strong return on investment, increasing preference for specific platforms, and the growing influence of micro and nano-influencers, the industry is poised for substantial growth.

For South African brands ready to seize these opportunities, the future holds great promise.

As Makoeng says, “The challenge isn’t just keeping up with trends but staying ahead. Influencer marketing allows brands to foster authentic connections with their audiences and make a significant impact in their sector.”