Most shoppers mistrust influencers, says Savvy survey for the BBC

Most shoppers do not completely trust social media influencers, a survey by Savvy has indicated.

The research, commissioned by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, was aired on Boxing Day https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001r82 . The findings were also featured on the BBC’s website https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46636502.

The survey, which focused on buyers of beauty products, found that 36% of us take advice from social influences’ suggestions, rising to 54% among 18-to-34-year-old beauty buyers.

The shoppers of the UK are a knowledgeable lot and tend to be pretty wise when deciding how much to trust an influencers’ recommendations. However, we can see from the research that there is ambiguity, with 82% of people who took part saying it was not always clear when an influencer had been paid to promote a product.

In the wider research findings we see that 75% of shoppers would stop following an influencer if they seemed to be promoting products too much and less than half of respondents (48%) say most social media influencers only promote products they genuinely like.

There is no doubt that the growth of social media over the past decade has changed marketing in many ways and a major part of that has been the rise of ‘social influencers’. We expect that the role of influencers will steadily grow over the next decade, but the research does highlight clear potential risks. Tighter regulation is already helping improve transparency of the influencer channel and influencers are more actively making it clear when they are promoting products such as by using #ad and #sponsored hashtags, but ultimately the onus is on brands to choose influencers and manage the content they share carefully.