Since it didn’t really debut in the West until 2018, TikTok has spent the past four years playing catchup in the influencer marketing industry. Despite its status as a cultural hub, it hasn’t commanded as much spend as its rivals — until now. According to the data from Insider Intelligence (formerly known as eMarketer), advertisers have spent $774.8 million on TikTok influencer marketing in the U.S. this year. That’s a bigger number than the one generated by Facebook, and it’s closing in on YouTube‘s slice of the pie, too.
Though YouTube generated $948 million from influencer marketing between January and July of this year, Insider Intelligence believes that TikTok will soon overtake its Google-owned competitor on this axis. According to the report, that shift is projected to occur in 2024.
Even if TikTok eventually brings in more influencer marketing dollars than YouTube, it will still have a ways to go before it can catch the industry’s #1 platform. In this sector, Instagram is a dominant force. Thus far in 2022, advertisers have spent about $2.2 billion on their Insta-based influencer marketing efforts.
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But wait, I hear you ask. If Instagram has so much more influencer marketing power than TikTok, then why is it trying so hard to copy its younger rival? According to Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, the answer to that question concerns small-scale and medium-sized influencers.
“TikTok is surging in popularity for influencer marketing, but it’s still nowhere near Instagram in terms of spending or marketer adoption,” Enberg said. “That’s in part due to the higher prices Instagram creators charge for content, but also because of its wide array of content formats, most of which are now shoppable. Still, Instagram is trying to be more like TikTok so that it can attract smaller creators, which TikTok is known for. That’s key for Instagram to retain its lead in the influencer marketing space, especially as many creators on TikTok now boast follower counts that rival or surpass those on Instagram and YouTube.”
Here’s one thing that can be said for sure: Though all of these platforms are competing to see which one can command the most influencer marketing dollars, they’re all winning in the long run. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Insider Intelligence predicts that advertisers will spend about $5 billion on influencer marketing in 2022.