Influencer Marketing in the Age of COVID-19

How Brands and Creators Are Adapting to a ‘New Normal’

Executive Summary

The pandemic has disrupted the influencer marketing industry. But it’s not time to completely throw out the rulebook, as most of the changes are accelerations of pre-existing trends, rather than transformative shifts in the market.

How has the pandemic changed the influencer landscape?

Simply put, the pandemic has sped up changes that were already underway, such as the trend toward “unfiltered” or less-scripted content, the rise of TikTok and the popularity of “everyday influencers.” Industries like finance that hadn’t invested heavily in the tactic earlier are also learning to navigate the space.

What challenges have been presented to influencer marketing during the pandemic?

Marketing budgets—and thus creators’ paychecks—have shrunk, meaning brands have less money to spend on influencer marketing, and influencers are less likely to partner with a brand for free. Influencer marketing still tends to be used more for brand awareness than sales, which may prove challenging in an economic downturn as brands have revenue goals to meet.

Why are brands turning to influencers during the pandemic?

Cooped up at home, consumers have been spending more time on social media and interacting actively with content creators. Influencers can also provide brands with quick, less-expensive and easy-to-produce creative at a time when large-scale ad production may be difficult.

What are best practices for working with influencers during the pandemic?

Turning to trusted brand advocates, giving creators more creative control (to an extent) and focusing on how brands can add value to people’s new realities can help companies succeed with their influencer marketing strategies.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores the impact of the pandemic on influencer marketing, including spending, content creation, partnerships and platforms.

KEY STAT: As of May 2020, US and UK consumers who followed influencers were most interested in influencer content that entertained or helped them with their daily lives amid the pandemic.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Four Reasons Why Brands Are Turning to Influencers During the Pandemic
  3. Four Challenges Facing Influencer Marketing During the Pandemic
  4. How the Pandemic Is Changing Influencer Marketing
  1. Best Practices for Influencer Marketing During COVID-19 and Beyond
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Pierre-Loïc Assayag
Founder and CEO
Interviewed July 14, 2020
Alessandro Bogliari
The Influencer Marketing Factory
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed April 21, 2020
Daria Burke
Global CMO
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Jola Burnett
Vice President, GfK Consumer Life
Interviewed May 12, 2020
Ricky Ray Butler
BEN Group
Interviewed July 22, 2020
Stacy DeBroff
Influence Central
Founder and CEO
Interviewed August 7, 2020
Ryan Detert
Interviewed July 27, 2020
Diogo Felippelli
Interviewed July 23, 2020
Kelsey Formost
Director, Content Strategy
Interviewed July 23, 2020
Jenn Haskins
@hellorigby (Instagram)
Interviewed March 23, 2020
Melissa Johnson
@bestfriendsforfrosting (Instagram) bf4frosting (Pinterest)
Interviewed July 22, 2020
Mary Keane-Dawson
Group CEO
Interviewed April 20, 2020
Jane Ko
@atasteofkoko (Instagram)
Interviewed July 29, 2020
Maryam Maquillage
@maryamnyc (Instagram)
Interviewed March 9, 2020
Pat McLean
Interviewed August 5, 2020
Tara Nolan
Havas Media
Vice President, Global Growth
Interviewed August 6, 2020
Junior Pence
Peace Out Skincare
CMO and Creative Director
Interviewed April 30, 2020
Alex Reed
Co-Founder and CMO
Interviewed July 30, 2020
Maria Sipka
Co-Founder and Executive Vice President
Interviewed July 29, 2020
Casey Smith
Social Media and Influencer Manager
Interviewed July 30, 2020

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Jasmine Enberg


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Jillian Ryan
Principal Analyst
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst

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