At a time when audience engagement and digital connectivity are critical to braving the effects of the global pandemic, influencers provide brands a conduit for reaching consumers in meaningful ways where they are. A new report from Influencer and GlobalWebIndex reveals consumers are interacting with influencers more or the same amount since the pandemic began.
Now more than just a channel for catching up with friends and family, social media has become consumers’ go-to destination for researching new products and services and interacting with brands. Seventy-two percent of consumers who follow influencers in the US and the UK say they’re spending more time on social media per day since stay-at-home orders went into effect. In addition, nearly two-thirds of this group say they’ll continue using social media to the same extent after restrictions are lifted.
The study found that 47 percent of consumers who follow influencers say they’re interacting with creators more, 49 percent are interacting with them the same amount and just four percent are interacting less.
Creators are also influencing purchase decisions during the pandemic. Around 30 percent of consumers who follow influencers say they use social media for product research.
Among those who are interacting more with influencers since the pandemic, 67 percent say they’re more likely to consider a brand or product if their favorite influencer has promoted it and 69 percent have purchased a product/service as a result.
The data around how consumers interact with influencers reflect the importance of brands leveraging influencers for video content. For example, 37 percent of respondents say they actively watch creators’ live videos and 34 percent actively watch creators’ stories and leave comments on their posts.
When asked what type of content they enjoy the most from creators, 52 percent named funny, light-hearted content and 44 percent named informative content. Other types of content that viewers value include greater awareness to COVID-19, interactive quizzes and collaboration with officials to spread awareness about the crisis.
Among the reasons for why they follow influencers, respondents say it’s to learn something new (51 percent), to see entertaining/uplifting content (49 percent) and to pass the time (49 percent).
Forty percent of respondents say the largest benefit of discovering a product through an influencer is seeing the product in action. The two other primary benefits of finding products through creators include coming across products they wouldn’t have found otherwise (35 percent) and learning about offers and promotions (30 percent). Whereas 23 percent of respondents say they value the trust an influencer’s endorsement brings.
Across all generations, YouTube is the top platform used to follow influencers (74 percent), followed by Facebook (66 percent), Instagram (58 percent), Twitter (51 percent) and Pinterest (44 percent). Just 10 percent of US respondents say they started using TikTok to follow influencers during the pandemic; the figure is 17 percent for UK respondents.
The findings are based on a survey conducted in May among 1,056 UK and 1,038 US internet users aged 16 to 64 who say they follow influencers, as well as insights from GlobalWebIndex’s coronavirus research from March to May.