7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Over the past few years, we’ve watched influencer marketing become a key part of communications campaigns. The value in having a ‘non-celebrity’ back your brand has exponentially grown as we see consumers looking for deeper connections with key opinion leaders.  

Before launching into 2022, we sat down and had a think about what upcoming trends brands should be aware of for the coming year.  

Here is our rundown of the top 7.  

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #1: Emerging Live-Streaming Platforms Will Take Off 

One trend to watch is the emergence of new platforms to reach audiences. It’s not just Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter anymore. These social media giants have been adapting and changing since the emergence of TikTok.   

TikTok has changed the way people consume content, particularly for Gen Z.  There’s now more impact in less time, thanks to TikTok’s unique mode of operation.  

Brands should also watch for opportunities with live interactive forums such as ‘Twitter Spaces,’ which adapt the service of the Clubhouse application.  

Numerous live eCommerce platforms thrived through the pandemic.  The Chinese live streaming eCommerce market is huge, with reports of the “King of Live Streaming Influencer” Xinba Aka ‘Simba’ selling $300M worth of goods in just one 12 Hour Live Session on Kuaishou, a popular video-sharing app in China. 

Likewise, live-stream gaming continued to increase in popularity in 2021, with predictions for more of the same in 2022. Facebook play and YouTube gaming are still the favored platforms for play, but new apps are beginning to appear. Examples include platforms like Nimo TV, a live stream gaming platform that is available in 10 different countries including Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The platform runs locally in all locations, and in 2021 had 25 million active users.  

In the Philippines, the app Kumu shot to success in 2021. Kumu is a social entertainment app that supports live-streamed gaming, live-streamed eCommerce, and live-streamed social T.V, even hosting a live-streamed awards ceremony for winners of games each year. Kumu has 7 million registered users, 2 million monthly active users, and does about 40,000 live streams every day.  

The emergence of live-streaming apps will make an impact in ASEAN markets next year.  

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #2: KOL Areas of Expertise Will Grow Horizontally

‘Key Opinion Leader’ is a phrase that’s become nearly synonymous with the term ‘influencer.’ For someone to be a KOL means that they have expert knowledge in a particular field. Fashion, beauty, technology, gaming – we’re used to grouping influencers by their specialism and then collaborating with them to reach an audience specifically interested in this field.

But moving forward, what we’re beginning to see is consumers wanting more from influencers. Influencers are being understood not just as KOL’s but individuals, whose thoughts, feelings, and opinions on many other topics are valuable for their audiences. For instance, in Thailand in 2020-21, we’ve seen traditionally travel-focused influencers such as I Roam Alone, Travel with Katheryn, Kantjournal, and Oats X Somewhere branch out into broader lifestyle elements such as fashion, design, cooking, family, and domestic travel.

In Myanmar, influencers like May Toe Khine, are also branching away from their established topics of interest. May gained popularity after starring in Yuu Aung Chit Mae Lu, a popular Burmese romantic comedy. After the revolution, she began to move away from traditional modeling images and has started posting content that supports local businesses as well as cooking, make-up tutorials, and intimate moments with her friends.

Likewise, in 2022, instead of moving vertically, we’re expecting that other influencers will move horizontally. They will be able to have an opinion on topics or products that would be considered out of their usual sphere of expertise. It will become commonplace for influencers in the auto industry to have an opinion on F&B for example. While this may seem jarring at first to brands, it posits great opportunities to reach new audiences, widening reach and engagement.

Moreover, we will no longer be thinking of influencers as Key Opinion Leaders but Cultural Opinion Leaders, with a following of fans that are interested in all aspects of influencer life and thought.

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #3: The Slow Return of the Travel Influencer

During the pandemic, plenty of travel influencers diversified their content and focused on the home, which made sense. Many of us across the region have spent much of 2021 housebound. Home-cooked meals, plant-care, DIY, home furnishings and crafting, all became popular topics on influencer channels in 2021.  

In 2022, as the region begins to open again, we are predicting that travel will slowly return to our influencer’s channels. We are expecting to see more F&B, more hotels, and more domestic as well as foreign travel locations. With that said, we predict that even though travel itself returns, there won’t be going back to the way things were pre-COVID. We’re likely to see new approaches to travel from travel influencers and content which focuses on safe and sustainable travel.  

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #4: InfluencerSchedule More Breaks from Social-Media, or Leave Altogether 

Depression. Isolation. Apathy. Fatigue. Most of us can relate to the mental challenges and strains of the pandemic and a move over to digital life. For so many of us, a focus on mental wellness will be one of the biggest impacts made by the pandemic on society. 

Influencers, who rely on social media non-stop, are feeling this pain too. 

More influencers are taking scheduled breaks from social media to protect their mental health. Some of them are spending more time on platforms where they can interact directly with paying fans. We may even see some leave social media altogether.

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #5: More Content Creators Switch Platforms

“What we might expect to see next year is some content creators moving over to platforms where they can monetize their efforts more efficiently such as Twitter Space, TikTok Live, or Twitch. We’re expecting that these efforts will still live alongside their regular channels. But I think the point is that influencers open themselves up to the public – and we know that people on the internet can be unkind. It’s a real issue for creators – and so I think we’ll see more influencers taking steps to protect their health.”  

In terms of influencer fatigue for consumers, we do think that repetitive content will begin to become draining. But this is not necessarily negative. Instead, we’ll be using this opportunity to make sure that influencer partnerships are ground-breaking and innovative. We’re predicting that in 2022, it will no longer be enough for a brand to jump on a trending dance or idea. Real-time creativity should be put into creating content partnerships that cut through the noise and prevent influencer fatigue from setting in.  

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #6: Influencers Will Turn to Alternative Payment Solutions 

With PayPal policy updates set to come into effect in February 2022 and the payment platform announcing that it will stop supporting individual payments, this will widely affect the digital artist space. We foresee more KOLS shifting to alternative platforms to receive donations and payment as well as influencers looking for other ways to monetize their content rather than relying on Google AdSense or sponsored posts. Some may turn to cryptocurrency or NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) as forms of payment.  

In an effort to keep creators, TikTok has just rolled out their new Creator Next platform, a single hub for all the platforms monetization tools. Alongside Creator Next, Tik Tok is also planning to roll out tips for influencers on the platform so that users can tip their favorite creators directly.  

As content creators looked to monetize their work, we’re also expecting to see affiliate marketing links becoming more popular amongst influencers in the ASEAN market in 2022.  

The pending entry of Stripe into the Thai market, according to Blockdit, is set to be a big gamechanger for influencers in Thailand who want to receive quick, easy, and seamless payments. KOLs and influencers will also use Wise (formerly Transfer Wise) and Payoneer more, as these payment services are now available in Thailand.   

7 Influencer Marketing Predictions in Southeast Asia for 2022

Prediction #7Diversity and Inclusion Will Become a Top Priority in the Brand-Influencer Relationship 

The world has changed over the past two years, and so have social attitudes.  As society becomes more open to diverse ways of living, social media influencers reflect this trend and there is an opportunity for brands to show progressivity, diversity, and inclusion through the types of influencers with whom they engage.  

We predict a rise in alternative influencers promoting difference. “Brands should look to reach out to individuals who are popular in body positivity spheres, LGBTQI+ influencers, or sustainability influencers. Moving towards a more equally represented world will be a key movement in 2022.  Consumers are using their reach and wallet as an extension of their own values, and brands will be asked to find stances that relate to their audience.   

Get in touch with us to see how we can help you maneuver 2022’s changing Influencer landscape.