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Nike and Adidas are masters at influencer marketing — and have been since before it was a multibillion-dollar industry, according to a new report from Traackr.

The influencer marketing platform released its “2020 State of Influence: Fashion” report today, which incorporated data from 123 brands and more than 100,000 influencers in the U.S., the U.K. and France. The report found that Nike and Adidas received more than 300,000 mentions from U.S. influencers last year. Furthermore, out of all the brands included in the report, Nike and Adidas ranked first and second, respectively, for Brand Vitality Score (VIT), Traackr’s proprietary metric.

“Nike and Adidas are more the exceptions than the norm in fashion in general,” said Pierre-Loïc Assayag, chief executive officer and cofounder of Traackr. They dominate athletics and they don’t really have an equivalent in the other sectors. Even the largest fast-fashion [brands], the Zaras of the world, do not compete.”

Below, three more findings from Traackr’s “2020 State of Influence: Fashion” report.

Influencers are talking more frequently about sustainability.

Traackr’s report also found that influencer mentions of sustainable fashion increased 55 percent from 2018 to 2019, while mentions of secondhand fashion increased 137 percent. Engagement rates on sustainable fashion posts jumped by 150 percent, while secondhand fashion posts received 106 percent higher engagement.

Simultaneously, though, fast-fashion brands — particularly European brands such as Asos, TopShop, Zara and H&M — continued to be popular among the influencer set.

Long-term brand-influencer partnerships receive more engagement.

U.S.- and U.K.-based nanoinfluencers have the highest engagement rates across all fashion categories, and the biggest drop in engagement rate typically occurs as nanos become micros. (Traackr defines nano influencers as those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, while micro influencers have a following of at least 10,000.)

Engagement rate, though, varies from post to post, and long-term brand-influencer partnerships tend to receive higher engagement.

“The more an influencer posts something that is relevant and meaningful to an audience about their brand, the more it will resonate true with the audience,” Assayag said. “My first post about Nike might feel like maybe I just received free gear, but when I talk about it for the tenth time, it’s gonna start sounding real to my community.”

Contemporary brands struggle to find their footing in influencer marketing.

Contemporary brands don’t perform as well as those in the luxury, fast-fashion and activewear sectors — and they tend to work most with mid-tier influencers (those with 50,000 to 500,000 followers). The reason, Assayag said, is that contemporary brands haven’t yet moved away from “commoditization of their product.”

“Questions or issues around, more generically, brand values are strong anchors to create this ongoing stream of communication where we talk about the product, but we talk about it in context of something bigger than the product and the brand,” Assayag said. “We saw it really strongly with Nike starting a couple of years ago around political issues, we’ve seen in our report that topics like sustainability have increased. It feels that the contemporary category has been struggling the most to find their voice in that new conversation.”

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