Home >News >India >Influencer economics set for big disruption

NEW DELHI : The ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps will lead to increased competition for existing micro and nano influencers on platforms, industry experts said. Influencers from TikTok are moving to Instagram, YouTube, and other places, following the ban, bringing with them a healthy following.

One influencer, who goes by the name Funbucket Bhargav, has 156,000 followers on Instagram, compared to 8.3 million on TikTok. Another influencer, Arman Rathod, a dancer from Gujarat, who had more than 7 million followers on TikTok, has 70,600 followers on Instagram at present. Many influencers are starting from scratch on Instagram and not carrying all followers, which is what puts these influencers in the micro and nano brackets when they move to Instagram.

“The market has changed. There’s no doubt about it. In the past three to six months, a lot of people started suggesting short format videos and TikTok as a platform for promotion. I don’t think that suggestion is going to disappear into thin air, but the platform will be Facebook and Instagram, and others," said Shudeep Majumdar, co-founder, Zefmo, an influencer marketing firm. At the very least, the number of micro and nano influencers has increased because of the rapid influx of TikTokers, primarily on Instagram. People who have 15,000-20,000 followers may be impacted because of this, he added.

For a brand manager, a lower number of followers does not matter as long as there is engagement. Celebrities with millions of followers bring reach, but micro and nano influencers are preferred for engagement, said independent political communications consultant Anup Sharma. Influencers from TikTok have good engagement with their followers because they interact actively.

The exodus of TikTok influencers to other platforms will also result in the pricing structure in the market taking a hit.

TikTok influencers charged a tenth of what an Instagram influencer would with the same following, said Ayush Choudhary, founder, DForDelhi, a hyperlocal discovery portal. When the creators move to new platforms, they aren’t suddenly going to adopt the rate lists for those platforms and brands could capitalise on this. Influencers had also taken a hit to their revenue already, because of brands reducing their advertising budgets because of the pandemic. “The competition is not just the TikTok ban, but it is also lack of work," said Sharma. There’s been a democratization of content across platforms recently, which makes it easier for TikTok influencers to adapt to new platforms, he said.

Considering that Instagram may soon launch Reels, its TikTok competitor, in India, influencers have a definite edge as they’re already used to such a platform. “We’re planning to start testing an updated version of Reels in more countries. Reels is a fun, creative way for people to express themselves and be entertained. No further plans to share on launch date or countries for now," a Facebook spokesperson said.

Industry executives expect the market to stabilize eventually, but the movement of influencers to new platforms will cause disruption in the short run.

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