- About half (51%) of consumers said they had bought a product or service after seeing it used or promoted by an influencer in the past two years, per a study that coupon company Valassis shared with Mobile Marketer. Younger adults are more likely to be swayed, with 39% of people ages 25 to 34 saying influencer endorsements affect their opinions about brands. Valassis surveyed 1,000 consumers in August about their interactions with influencers.
- Thirty-five percent of U.S. consumers said they had made an unplanned purchase based on something they saw on social media, while 21% made an influencer-motivated purchase for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Forty percent of consumers said they're more likely to trust a brand that features an influencer they know, and 25% said influencers who endorse brands shape their perceptions, the study found.
- While the study points to how influencer marketing is having a larger influence on purchasing as homebound consumers spend more time on social media during the coronavirus pandemic, it also indicates that consumer awareness about social injustice has affected the impact of influencers, with 36% of influencer-following consumers saying they follow a more diverse group of influencers than they did before the protests against racial inequality started in the summer.
The growing importance of influencer marketing is a byproduct of the increased time that people have spent at home during the pandemic, Valassis' study suggests. Influencers have the power to humanize brands, making them an important bridge with consumers as they spend more time on social media, according to the report. That's especially true for influencer campaigns aimed at younger consumers. Its findings help to support other research, including a study by researcher Kantar that found almost half (44%) of Generation Z has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, compared with 26% of the general population.
Valassis recommends that brands exercise caution in their decisions to work with an influencer, with 65% of consumers saying they would stop following an influencer who says or does something that doesn't align with their personal ethics and values. At the same time, some consumers are embracing brands endorsed by influencers that reflect their social awareness, with 32% of respondents saying they had purchased more products/services from businesses that are endorsed by influencers from different racial and cultural backgrounds, according to the study.
The pandemic has led many businesses to cut influencer marketing as they reduce ad spending — namely, the travel and hospitality industries — but some categories have ramped up activity. Fitness and plant care influencers have experienced stronger engagement and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales during the health crisis as homebound consumers seek their advice, Business Insider reported. Meanwhile, influencer mentions of insurance policies, mobile phones, recipes and TVs increased during the first two months of the pandemic in the U.S., a study by social media marketing firm Socialbakers found.
The potential ban on TikTok in the U.S. may disrupt the influencer marketing plans for brands, as the social video app emerges as a rival to popular influencer channels. Instagram last year was the leading influencer platform, with almost 80% of brands using the image-sharing app most frequently for influencer campaigns, making it more popular than Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%) and LinkedIn (12%), per data compiled by Influencer Marketing Hub.