Less than a third of consumers believe influencer content adequately represents diversity in society

Less than a third of consumers believe influencer content adequately represents diversity in society
  • Diversity gap: Two thirds of marketers believe influencer content adequately represents diversity in society, yet less than a third (28%) of consumers agree
  • Older generations more likely to purchase a product or service as a result of an influencer, rising from 57% among 16-24-year-olds to 61% among 35-44-year-olds

London, UK, 15th December 2021 ‘ Social media users say that influencer content doesn’t reflect the diversity of society, in a new report released today, which found that less than a third (28%) of consumers believe that branded influencer content is inclusive.

Diversity and inclusivity, mental health and authenticity were highlighted as challenges for this rapidly growing part of the marketing industry, where consumers are expected to spend $15bn by 2022.

The report, ‘Influencer marketing in the pandemic eralooks at the shifting trends in the sector and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the long-term future of the industry as a whole. It includes analysis from global influencer marketing agency TAKUMI, which compared the viewpoints of consumers, influencers and the brands that sponsor them across the UK and US.

In addition to challenges facing the sector as it rapidly grows, the report also highlights the changing habits of consumers engaging with influencer content including increased spending through in-app ecommerce platforms on influencer content ‘ a feature that’s accelerating particularly quickly among older audiences.

Diversity and inclusion concerns for influencer marketing

The research examined the issue of societal representation and found a disconnect between the opinions of consumers and marketers. Less than a third (28%) of consumers believe brands’ influencer marketing content adequately represents diversity in society, compared to almost two thirds of marketers (62%). Similarly, just three in ten UK and US (30%) consumers believe influencer marketing content better represents marginalised or underrepresented communities than traditional brand owned channels, compared to over two thirds of marketers (67%).

Encouragingly though, marketers are listening to the frustrations of consumers, with over two thirds (67%) using influencers from more diverse backgrounds in campaigns compared with pre-pandemic.

Social media platforms responsible for safeguarding mental health

When it comes to mental health in the industry, 23% of consumers and 30% of marketers believe social media platforms themselves bear the most responsibility for safeguarding users.

Older generations buying more than ever before via influencers

Nearly half (46%) of UK and US consumers have been influenced to buy a product or service as a result of influencer content, rising a from 57% of 16-24-year-olds to 61% among 35-44-year-olds. When compared with 2019, there was also a notable increase in conversions among the oldest generations purchasing as a result of influencer content – increasing from 29% to 36% among 45-54 and from 13 to 24% of 55+ year-olds between 2019 and 2021.

In monetary terms, our research finds that 15% of consumers in the UK have purchased a product or service recommended by an influencer worth less than £50, while over one in ten (11%) consumers in the same region have made a purchase worth £50 to £250. In the US, almost a quarter (22%) of consumers have made a purchase worth between $70 to $346.

Jim Meadows, Chief Strategy Officer at TAKUMI, says: As the influencer marketing industry continues to evolve, we are seeing consumers’ perceptions of influencers shift and their trust in them evolve.

As part of this evolution, constructive questions will be asked of both influencers and the brands they work with over ethical conduct, diversity and engagement in political issues, all of which are helping to shape the future of the industry and will, ultimately, improve the sector for the better.

If handled carefully, influencers can be powerful tools to entertain, inspire and educate audiences through the trust they have developed with consumers – with significant potential for brands.

The full study can be read here: https://takumi.com/research

Jim Meadows
Jim Meadows

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