New Survey from BPG Group and YouGov Highlights Consumers' Views about Social Media Influencers
19 November 2019: The fourth edition of the Social Media Influencers survey by BPG Group and YouGov found that 85 per cent of respondents follow social media influencers in the UAE and KSA, while 79 per cent have unfollowed many social media influencers due to their increased promotional content and contrasting values and ethics.
But despite this movement by consumers, the survey reveals that influencers with relevant content continue to have a strong following as they win and retain consumer trust, which ultimately impacts purchasing decisions.
Consumers want honesty and credibility
Furthermore, 73 per cent of consumers can tell if content on a social media influencer's page is paid for or authentic and 59 per cent are less likely to trust influencers' reviews or recommendations if they have been paid to advertise it. Close to four in five respondents say they are aware that influencers can buy followers, likes and comments on Instagram.
Taghreed Oraibi, Business Director from BPG Group, said: “Brands and agencies alike are following international and local regulations and guidelines in a step to support authorities regulate influencer marketing and increase content transparency to protect consumers. Disclosure statements and hashtags are being used more than ever, hence consumers are more aware of the nature of an influencer's content. As an agency, we work closely with our clients to ensure that content is created in partnership with influencers to reflect the brand's messages while maintaining transparency and ensuring that the required guidelines are met. We also ensure that the necessary due diligence is carried out prior to any partnership with an influencer to prevent any fraud.”
The positive impact on purchasing decisions
Social media influencers who are trusted and followed by consumers still play an important role in affecting their purchasing decisions. Among consumers, 73 per cent have purchased from a brand or tried a service mentioned by an influencer and 73 per cent discover new trends by following them. 71 per cent dined somewhere, 66 per cent have bought services or products using a promo code, 54 per cent have picked a travel destination and 78 per cent have followed a brand on social media due to an influencer's post.
However, reviews from their friends and families outshine social media influencers, with the majority stating that they trust reviews from their friends more than social media influencers.
Who's seen as an influencer?
The survey asked respondents about how they define influencers, and 64 per cent said they consider celebrities to be influencers, while around 50 per cent said they believed that those who regularly post about a certain topic or are subject matter experts on a subject are influencers.
Content remains the key pillar of Influencer Marketing
Some of the most interesting findings were around content – and the survey reveals that the quality and type of content on an influencer's page is more important to consumers than the number of followers they have. Seven out of 10 respondents said they follow an influencer because they find their content interesting.
“The survey confirms that content is the key factor driving consumers to follow influencers. Numbers still affect perception and trust, with a majority stating that they trust Macro-influencers the most, however, content still remains priority. There's no longer room for shallow content that fails to resonate with consumers or for advertising content that masquerades as authentic content. Brands and influencers have to invest in developing content that resonates and connects with consumers.” said Arif Ladhabhoy, Business Director, BPG Group.
The survey revealed that video content was preferred across the travel, food, lifestyle, automotive, technology, gadgets, gaming and entertainment sectors, while images were ranked as the highest preferred content in the fashion, beauty, interiors, and art and culture segment.
Users interact with this content on influencers' platforms through likes (68 per cent), followed by comments (52 per cent) and shares (41 per cent).
Top influencer categories and platforms
Amongst the top influencer categories, Entertainment was the most popular with 94 per cent of consumers following them, followed by Food (92 per cent), Travel (91 per cent), Tech (90per cent), Lifestyle (89 per cent), Arts and Culture (88 per cent), Fashion and Beauty (85 per cent), Interiors (80 per cent), Automotive (78 per cent) and Gaming (75 per cent).
Consumers most often use Facebook to follow Travel, Interiors, Arts and Culture and entertainment and automotive influencers, while Instagram tops the list of platforms amongst Fashion, Beauty, Food, and Lifestyle influencers. While Technology, Gadgets, and Gaming influencers are more popular on YouTube.