Despite influencer marketing budgets being reduced or modified due to COVID-19, influencers are continuing to drive conversation and impact consumer behavior during the pandemic, a new study from Matter reveals.
As social distancing orders remain in effect, 63 percent of consumers have spent more time viewing and/or posting on social platforms. In addition, 50 percent have spent more time watching live-stream social content.
During quarantine, 58 percent of consumers say they’re noticing more sponsored content from influencers. Influencers appear to be striking an appropriate tone during the pandemic as only 19 percent of consumers say they feel influencer content has been “tone-deaf and/or unhelpful.”
Matter also found that 61 percent of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member or influencer on social media. Matter observed this trend across generations: 66 percent of respondents ages 18-29, 61 percent of respondents ages 30-44, 60 percent of consumers ages 45-60 and 53 percent of consumers over 60.
Whereas just 38 percent say they’re likely to trust recommendations from a brand on social media.
This discrepancy could be due to influencers being more familiar with the type of sponsored post that will resonate with their audience. EMarketer recently spoke with six influencers about what brand partnerships look like from their perspective. When asked about brands trusting influencers to know their audience, Austin food blogger Jane Ko said:
“Most brands still see influencers as a typical ad buy. I want to push back and say, ‘I’m not a magazine that’s printing 100 pages, I can’t just slide in an ad in between.’ That’s not how Instagram works. If [my followers] don’t like the content, they’re not going to engage with it, and [the client] is going to think I did a bad job. But they didn’t give me the opportunity to tell a story in a way that’s right for my audience. I know how to sell to my audience. I’m selling to them every single day.”
According to Matter, influencer posts are driving sales too: 82 percent of respondents say they either purchased, researched or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing friends, family or influencers post about it.
Over half (56 percent) of consumers want to see influencer posts about food and beverage, 48 percent want to see influencer posts about health and wellness and 45 percent want to see influencer posts about personal technology. Among these categories, 51 percent of consumers are most likely to purchase, research or consider influencer posts about food and beverage, followed by 39 percent for health and wellness and 37 percent for personal technology.
When asked what type of influencers resonate across categories, a majority of respondents say they prefer influencers with relatable personalities and influencers with expert personalities.
Only 17-22 percent of respondents say they prefer celebrity influencers over aspirational or relatable influencers such as authors or public figures.
Matter’s findings are based on a survey distributed to 1,000 US consumers in May.