Why do people follow influencers


In the study of the visual marketing platform Olapic, which was carried out by Cite Research, 1,000 consumers and active social media consumers in Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA were surveyed (a total of 4,000 people). The survey period was from November 13 to 21, 2017; the respondents were between 16 and 61 years old. The study was designed to reveal why consumers follow and trust an influencer and how they react to their recommendations.

When does a social media user become an influencer?

Most consumers define an influencer as someone who has more than 10,000 followers on social networks (53 percent). However, many Germans set the bar a little higher, because 34 percent of them only see a social media user as an influencer if they have at least 50,000 subscribers. In addition, 42 percent of the study participants say that an influencer is someone who advertises and promotes products and services for brands. For the majority of those surveyed, however, the social media stars do not have celebrity status. Only 21 percent classify influencers as famous. The older generation of 55 to 61-year-olds is generally not so sure: They didn't know exactly what an influencer was.

What is the difference between influencers and other users?

In contrast to other social media users, influencers share more information for 42 percent of consumers, and 39 percent also find their posts to be of higher quality. What a little surprising: Not even a third of those surveyed state that influencers, in contrast to other Facebook, Instagram and Youtube users, advertise more in their posts (31 percent).

What users value about influencers:

The study also asked which criterion is decisive for a person to follow an influencer and believe their recommendations. For 43 percent of those surveyed, authenticity plays the greatest role. In addition, 39 percent of consumers like it when a social media user with a large reach shows and tests a product on display in action. For women in particular, testing a product is the key to trusting an influencer post (44 percent). In addition, 39 percent of consumers value the expertise of the influencers because of which they follow them. This is the most relevant trait for men to believe a social media star.

Study profile
Name: Psychology of Following (2017)
Client: Olapic
Market research institute: CITE Research
Objective: To analyze the psychology of why consumers follow and trust an influencer and how they react to their recommendations
Population: 4,000 respondents in Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA
Field time: November 16-21, 2017
On Werbewirkung-forschung.de: No.

Which platforms and formats do influencer fans like?

Facebook, Instagram and Youtube are the respondents' favorite platforms on which they follow influencers. Women prefer to use Instagram, men prefer YouTube. Age differences can also be determined: 19 to 24-year-olds also mainly follow influencers on Instagram (53 percent), while 43 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds tend to use Facebook for this purpose. By the way: respondents aged 35 and over follow social media stars less often than younger consumers. 45 percent of 35 to 44 year old consumers, 65 percent of 45 to 54 year olds and a full 79 percent of 55 to 61 year old respondents stated that they did not follow any influencer on the World Wide Web.

When it comes to the format in which influencers are marketing, respondents prefer images and video content to get product recommendations. For a third of consumers, video with sound is the favorite piece of content on their timeline. On the other hand, 25 percent prefer pictures. Younger people in particular like rigid photos best: 35 percent of 19 to 24-year-olds. In addition, the study found that users primarily use visual platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to follow beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencers.

When influencer marketing leads to a purchase decision

Now butter with the fish: Almost a third of the total of 4,000 respondents have already bought a product or service as a result of an influencer posting (31 percent). After all, 44 percent of consumers have already considered following an influencer's recommendation. 24 percent said they had recommended a product themselves based on an influencer post.

For Olapic co-founders Pau Sabria The most important study result is that a total of 85 percent of those surveyed have already reacted to an influencer post, 31 percent have even bought a product or service. His conclusion: "We notice that consumers trust like-minded content more than branded content. It is interesting that the majority of respondents agree that influencer posts have a major impact on their actions despite being aware of the relationship between brands and influencers are aware, "Sabria told HORIZONT Online.

Sabria also cites another study finding: Different platforms are also suitable for different segments in order to operate successful influencer marketing. According to the Olapic founder, posts from beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencers run best on visual platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

Sabria does not believe that influencers lose their credibility and authenticity if they mark their advertising postings as sponsored. Although consumers are more aware of advertising in this case, they still trust the recommendations of social media giants more than the content of brands. "That is the case as long as the influencer's content remains relevant and authentic. Then they still have a credible effect on the consumer," explains Sabria.

His tip to all marketers looking to try influencer marketing is that they should conduct surveys and studies. He recommends not just working with an influencer with a lot of followers, but with someone who fits the brand and who has a fan base who interacts and communicates with the influencer. In addition, the founder advises brands not to interfere too much in the design of the postings, but to give the social media stars a free hand. "If brands interfere too much, it ruins the authenticity of the influencers they have built up with their followers through their postings."

In addition, Sabria has an idea of ​​influencer marketing of the future: "We believe that influencer marketing will continue to grow and become more relevant in 2018. It should be part of a diverse marketing strategy that should contain elements of authentic, relevant and influential content . " In addition, the founder believes that social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube are expanding their business models in order to promote, support and make the influencer community bigger. "Maybe this will even be a new source of income or a hedge against the declining ad performance. Time will tell," said Sabria. bre