Why is marketing important to consumers

Influencer Marketing Study: This is how important authenticity and inclusion are

TAKUMI, an influencer marketing agency, carried out a large-scale study on influencer marketing in August 2020. Over 4,000 consumers, marketers and influencers from Germany, the USA and the UK were surveyed. The main topics of the study were multi-channel campaigns and budget shifts, influencers as communicators, inclusion and the future of influencer marketing. From the findings of the study, marketers can gain meaningful insights on the topic and learn how they can best invest in the emerging industry today. We have summarized the most important results for you.

The Influencer marketing is booming

Influencer marketing is a huge business area. The industry is estimated to be worth $ 15 billion by 2022. It is therefore hardly surprising that 73 percent of all marketers surveyed invest more in influencer marketing today than they did a year ago. In particular, the influence of influencers has multiplied once again due to the increase in social media consumption during the corona pandemic.

But on which channels should influencers and marketers work together? The short answer: To many! 57 percent of marketers have already implemented multi-platform campaigns with influencers. This makes it possible to address different target groups in different ways by the respective influencer.

The majority of marketers (58 percent) would prefer to work with influencers on YouTube. Shortly thereafter, Instagram follows with 55 percent. At 35 percent, TikTok is almost as popular as classic online advertising (43 percent). The platform most popular with influencers itself is by far Instagram. There was no one among the US influencers surveyed who was not active on Instagram. 97 percent of German influencers also use the platform. For users, YouTube and Instagram are the most popular platforms for interacting with their favorite influencers.

Influencer on TV? Mixed feelings

Opinions seem divided on the presence of influencers in traditional media channels such as television. A little more than a third are open to this idea, while a further third are rather negative. Generation Z in particular seem to like the idea, while older users tend to be critical of it. A third of the marketers surveyed can also easily imagine influencers on television. Among the Germans, however, it was only 20 percent.

For the influencers themselves, expanding into mainstream media channels doesn't seem to be an urgent concern. None of the surveyed influencers from Germany or the USA stated that this was a top priority for them. For about a third, appearing on television was actually the least important aspect.

Compared to traditional advertising, influencer marketing can be significantly more effective and also cheaper. This has also been recognized by marketers. A full 60 percent state that they expect a better ROI with influencer marketing than with traditional advertising.

Social media influences the purchasing behavior of the younger generation

Differences according to age are also noticeable in the channels through which consumers are tempted to buy. Number one among 18 to 24 year olds is clearly Instagram (25 percent), followed by YouTube (21 percent). All respondents between the ages of 25 and 44 are most likely to get inspiration for a purchase from YouTube. For older people, this is most likely to happen through traditional television advertising. One of the benefits of influencer marketing is a high rate of engagement. Over 90 percent of consumers interact with their favorite influencers on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram every week. Only people aged 55 and over tend not to do this, because 51 percent of them do not use social media at all.

There are some interesting differences not only in the different age groups but also between the sexes. Interaction with influencers on Pinterest and Instagram is significantly more frequent among women (23 percent and 40 percent) than among men (11 percent and 23 percent).

Great responsibility follows great power

A full 25 percent of the users surveyed trust influencers more than established media and journalists when it comes to news reporting. For 16 to 34 year olds it is even 38 percent. This goes hand in hand with a responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the influencer. Especially during the corona pandemic, it is therefore important that influencers are aware of their enormous influence and do not abuse it. Says so Scott Guthrie, Influencer Marketing Professional Adviser:

Influencers have a duty of care to their followers and to society in general. Influencers are experienced in carrying important messages to parts of society that no longer read the newspaper, no longer listen to the radio and no longer watch free-to-air, linear television. We have seen this through initiatives from the United Nations and WHO using the power of influencers to spread messages about social distancing and the importance of hand washing.

It may be problematic that almost none of the influencers surveyed rated combating fake news as one of the most important aspects of their work. This is something that may need to change given the far-reaching influence of many influencers.

Instead, creative freedom is most important to most influencers. Almost half of the US, 44 percent of the Germans and 28 percent of the British influencers stated this. Accordingly, marketers can take away the opportunity to give the influencers they want to work with as much leeway as possible to contribute their own ideas. This is also supported by the fact that they usually know their target group best.

Inclusion and representation remain important

Younger people in particular identify more with the content of influencers than with traditional advertising. YouTube is rated as the most representative channel by both consumers (26 percent) and marketers (20 percent).

This goes hand in hand with the fact that many users want authentic content. Everyday activism and addressing political and social issues have increased significantly. For example, more and more influencers see the lack of diversity in the advertising industry as a problem. In addition, 55 percent of users think brands have the wrong idea of ​​what it means to be a woman. While 25 percent of consumers do not want these social issues to be addressed, 41 percent find this particularly important. Brands and marketers still have some catching up to do in this regard, according to influencers Orlando Buddle:

Many brands and marketers are supported in the midst of the political unrest, but once everything has subsided, they are nowhere to be found and everything returns to the starting point. It would be great to have more authentic support from brands and marketers so that more influencers who see themselves as a minority feel they have a voice.

A clearer ethical stance and social commitment also pay off. 39 percent of all users state that they place more trust in those influencers. There also seems to be a widespread interest in the collaboration between marketers and influencers in using influencers who are socially and politically active. For a quarter of influencers, this is the most important or second most important aspect of a cooperation, while 55 percent of marketers can imagine such a cooperation.

A look into the future

When marketers and influencers work together, the sometimes very different needs of both sides have to be met in the best possible way. It is particularly important for marketers to find the right influencer for their campaign (55.4 percent) and to achieve a balance between the creative freedom of the influencer and control on the part of the brand (46.2 percent). The ROI is also particularly important for marketers (43.3 percent). Sales also play a major role for influencers. Interestingly, many of the German influencers (71 percent) name fairer pay as their top priority.

One development to be expected is the continuous expansion of influencer marketing into traditional media channels. But the buying behavior of younger target groups in particular is more likely to be influenced by social media anyway, which is why these will in all probability remain the main channels of many influencers.

In addition, the future of influencer marketing will be shaped by clearer ethical attitudes and hopefully more diversity and fewer prejudices. Because more and more users, influencers and marketers recognize authenticity and inclusion as essential prerequisites for successful and contemporary influencer marketing.