Lin Pophal

App engagement is a challenge for most developers; putting the power of influencers behind your app can help. But the influencer market is in flux and increasingly under the watchful eye of regulators. Meanwhile, the nature — and value — of influencers during the pandemic is shifting.

What do app developers need to know to fully and successfully leverage the power of influencers?

Influencer marketing hit by pandemic

Influencer marketing has been growing year over year and many marketers have jumped on board. The pandemic, though, has had an impact on marketers’ decisions to leverage influencer marketing to bolster their messaging. Forrester has identified new dynamics in influencer marketing based on recent research.

In aggregate, influencer activities dropped by only about 3% from pre-pandemic levels according to the researcher. That was in March. By the end of May, activities were almost back to normal.

Much also depends on the type of app being promoted. Gaming apps have taken off exponentially during the pandemic for obvious reasons. Leveraging influencers in this space is likely to be a wise move. Apps related to live sporting events or travel may not present as much opportunity.

Best practice recommendations

Still, the news is not bleak for app developers hoping to leverage the power of word-of-mouth through influencers. Forrester issues a “gentle ‘buy’” recommendation based on their research. As they point out: “Locked-down consumers are spending more time online, specifically on social channels where influencers are as actively posting as ever.”

In addition, Tiffany Ou, general manager of the Americas at Nativex, points out that “now is a good time to experiment with influencers as the rates are generally less expensive with good engagement rates.” In fact, she adds, “Influencers are/must pivot and adjust from what they were promoting to more indoor goods, mobile apps, etc.”

Buyer Beware

As always, of course, it’s important for anyone using influencers to help promote their products to follow FTC guidelines related primarily to the disclosure of any “material connection” influencers may have with a brand — e.g. whether they’re receiving value of some kind for posting about and promoting the brand.

In addition, growth in fake followers — and influencers even caught purchasing fake followers — continues to be an issue. It doesn’t pay to pay for fake followers who will never download your app.