When celebrities and content creators emerged as professional influencers in the early 2010s, many brands saw them as the ultimate platform to sell products and services. With millions of followers, they did and, in many cases, continue to deliver results. However, the consumer perception of these celebrity influencers is evolving and paving the way for the ‘everyday influencer’ and a greater emphasis on authenticity.
Bazaarvoice recently surveyed over 1000 Australians to examine how shoppers perceive and interact with influencers. The study provided insights into who influences purchasing decisions, what factors genuinely affect consumers’ decisions, which platforms they use and trends like ‘deinfluencing’. The findings were enlightening.
The perception of celebrity influencers
One revelation is that the ‘deinfluencing’ trend is less prevalent than previously thought, with fewer than one in three Australians (29 percent) having heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it but have a TikTok or Instagram, you’ve probably seen a ‘deinfluencer’ urging you not to buy something. It may be because they don’t think the product is worth the money or simply deem it unnecessary – usually, the ‘deinfluencer’ goal is to nudge people to avoid over-consumption.While the numbers show the trend might not be as widespread as believed, the phenomenon is a symptom of how users are growing weary of being constantly targeted by celebrity influencers.
Authentic reviews and content generated by everyday consumers increasingly drive purchasing decisions, capturing public attention and moulding brand reputation. The Bazaarvoice Australian survey shows that 100 percent of shoppers bought a product based on another online shoppers’ recommendation.
When purchasing a product, 29 percent of Australians say everyday social media users actually influenced them the most, slightly more than brands (28 percent) and subject matter experts (26 percent).
The research also found that 82 percent of Aussies said other consumers’ opinions led them to purchase more or the same number of products they otherwise would and that 64 percent want brands to partner with them.
A significant factor in these numbers is that it’s hard to know what celebrities really think about what they promote, as brands usually pay for their endorsements.
Consumers want to know if they can trust recommendations and if people like them are using the products or services they seek – and 33 percent of consumers say they see other similar social media users as more trustworthy than five years ago, and 45 percent say they continue to trust them the same way.
Celebrities and influencers with a large following also represent a higher risk to brands, not only because they sometimes fail to resonate with audiences but also because they can be a liability, especially when embroiled in scandals or facing reputational challenges.
This doesn’t mean celebrities and influencers with millions of followers don’t have a place in Marketing strategies. However, as social media evolves, changing and shaping consumer behaviour, brands, marketers, and retailers must recognise and pay closer attention to regular consumers’ opinions as significant influences in customers’ decision-making processes.
Photo by AQVIEWS on Unsplash.