Has the influencer bubble burst? New research from Bazaarvoice shows that consumers are falling out of favour with online celebrities, and relying more on the power of reviews.
According to new research by Bazaarvoice, almost two thirds of online shoppers take no interest in what influencers offer. Alongside this, 61 per cent feel that celebrity influencers have now, figuratively, jumped the shark and are out of date.
In May 2018, the ‘Meghan-Effect’ was in full force. The newly crowned Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, had caused a stir online, with influencers sharing her outfits and where you can find dupes of the designer ensembles. But even after the birth of her son, Archie, it appears that the interest in Meghan is ‘diminishing’, with only five per cent of followers feeling influenced by the royal family, said the report.
It comes as no surprise that despite an over-saturated representation of the royal family, celebrities, fashion designers and influencers, the only thing that matters for brands is the customer’s take on the products being sold. “The message to retailers and brands is clear: improving the functionality of the online retail experience to include shopper reviews is the most powerful way of keeping customers on the path to purchase. A well-thought-out digital strategy may put a product at the top of people’s Instagram feed, but the presence of reviews and the opinions of people just like them is what will seal the deal,” said Kate Musgrove, Bazaarvoice’s Managing Director APAC.
While more than 80 per cent of social media users follow a brand online, both men and women are influenced by ‘people like me’, rather than celebrities and high-ranking influencers. In the report by Bazaarvoice, the company looked into more than 1,300 Australian shopping habits and found that more than 80 per cent of them turn to other’s feedback and reviews before making a purchase.
Bazaarvoice found that 16 per cent of consumers said they were confident that they could spot a fake review, whereas 63 per cent of customers found some doubt in the reviews they read online. “Fake reviews can be tricky to weed out but there are a few things to look out for. A large number of positive reviews date stamped on the same day is one indicator and the language is often another giveaway. The descriptors may not sound typical of people making that purchase. A look at the profile might shed further light – strange avatars, peculiar names or if they have not made many reviews but have made a lot of positive reviews in quick succession, should ring alarm bells,” said Musgrove.
It’s no real surprise that the influencers that are best-received in the social media platforms are in the fashion and beauty sectors, with 23 per cent of female users following them online. In contrast, the research found that politicians ranked as the least well-received influencers, with only three per cent of social media users following them.
As the retail landscape changes, as do the consumers’ interests and trust levels. Influencers have taken over marketing strategies, social media platforms and are injected into every online user’s screens. As shoppers become savvier to the tactics used by brands with influencers, the more likely they are to fall out of favour with the online celebrities. “The retail environment is evolving quickly and retailers cannot afford to fall behind in their adoption of trends such as personalisation and user-generated content,” explained Musgrove. “The rise of organic influencers is also another key trend based on authenticity where an influencer becomes an advocate that promotes a product based on their genuine love of a brand. Micro influencers – those with around 3,000 followers in a niche area – are also becoming increasingly important for brands and retailers to engage with.”