New research into the growing influencer market in Ireland shows that their credibility is starting to suffer as people have started to lose trust in their recommendations.
The research was carried out by the Dublin-based digital agency Zoo and surveyed 500 people on their views of influencers and whether or not they would actually be influenced by their product recommendations. This is the second year in a row that Zoo has carried out research.
One of the key findings of the research is that peoples’ trust in influencers and their recommendations is down by 14% year-on-year with some 71% of those surveyed that they would not trust a paid recommendation of a product or service made by an influencer. This compares to 57% in 2017, according to Zoo’s research.
When it came to organic or non-paid recommendations, the survey found that 49% would not trust the recommendation, up from 35% in 2017. The survey results also show that 67% of those surveyed claimed to follow at least one influencer on social media. In 2018, this figure dropped to 57%.
In addition, there has been an increase in the number of people who claim that they have never made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation from 57% in 2017 to 63% this year.
The survey also asked people if they can tell when an influencer is making a product recommendation. The purpose of this question was to determine whether or not respondents were familiar with legal indicators such as #ad and #spon. In 2017, 78% of people said they were able to recognise a paid product recommendation and this figure rose to 82% in 2018.
The survey also examined the impact, if any, that paid-for posts have on a person’s perception of the influencer. In 2017, 45% of people said that paid promotion has a negative impact on their feeling towards an influencer they follow while 48% of people said it has no impact at all. In 2018 the negative feeling towards an influencer increased to 55%, while 44% of people said it would have no impact.
“Our research indicates that people’s trust in influencers is decreasing and this is something brand owners should be conscious of when planning their roles in campaigns,” says Colin Hetherington, founder and managing director of Zoo.
As to the advice he would give marketers and other agencies considering using influencers as part of the marketing mix, he says that they need to tread carefully and ask the right questions.
“Do your homework and ask questions of the influencer. Why would they like to work on your brand, do they have a genuine interest, are they working with any other brands and check their figures to make sure they’re legitimate. Also ask yourself if you can put in place any hard campaign result metrics beyond views and likes,” he says.