We are all in unchartered territory. COVID-19 has stopped the entire world from functioning as normal. From people panic buying toilet paper rolls, to millions cancelling their travel plans. Almost every industry has felt the impact of the virus and begun to enter a recession, so what has been the effect on influencers?
Meet Jeb Carty, a social media influencer and model who has amassed a following of over 117,000 on Instagram. Mr. Carty has worked with travel brands from American Airlines to the Hilton chain of hotels, and fashion brands from MVMT to American Eagle. Thanks to this Jeb is able to provide a unique insight into both how influencers and brands are being affected by COVID-19.
“Well the first thing is that travel brands have almost completely stopped spending, and it makes sense. Most aren’t seeing any sales as no ones buying a holiday package, be it flights, hotel bookings or holiday clothing” Jeb explains.
“What you are seeing though is an increase in affiliate marketing for influencers. More brands are choosing performance paid marketing and staying away from ‘brand awareness’ types of marketing. While everyone’s strapped for cash, brands are definitely learning to become more efficient with every marketing dollar. There’s a lot less gifting in the space too, whereas before it’d be normal to get sent free products for shoutouts and reviews all the time. This could be because they’ve had their supply chains disrupted too, or just because they want to protect whatever they have saved” says Jeb.
Mr. Carty has also garnered a following from his time on TV with childhood friend Bam Margera on the Red Bull’s TV “Skate Tales”, and through his work as executive producer for artists like Mike Nappi’s, and so Jeb also gave his views on the entertainment sector: “Everything has stopped. Filming has stopped, musicians aren’t going to studios as much, and people aren’t creating content together. it’s a really weird time. Having said that, things are beginning to open back up again, and so I think we’ll begin to see film sets and shoots start to happen again the next few months. As that happens we’ll also see more work for models and influencers too, as they need us in these videos or to promote””.
Mr. Carty is also an entrepreneur, as co-founder of Zumbly he has raised over a million dollars. Mr. Carty also says that the scope for investors has changed, and that silicon valley is looking at investing in brands a lot more differently. This is why brands have been forced to be more nimble and ROI focused, given that VC’s and investors are also protecting their cash more.
With this new economy we are transitioning from a marketplace where investors were comfortable with high valuations, to one where every dollar is being counted. The ripples of this from marketing have meant that influencers are facing a very new landscape and reality. A few months ago brands were freely sending out free products for reviews, sponsoring live streams and using every tool in the box. However, as brands get squeezed on cash it seems like the dream,to become an influencer in 2020 might end early for most people.
For more info on Jeb Carty follow him on Instagram @jebcartyofficial_310