Social media users want credible influencers: Survey - GulfToday

Social media users want credible influencers: Survey


The Ministry of Community Development will celebrate World Children’s Day coinciding with Nov.20 each year by organising activities for children and their families.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Influencers with over a million followers are still the people to contend with in this day and age when all social media platforms have taken a tight grip on both the young and old. However, those who do not want to be dislodged, those who want to join the bandwagon and stay in the pack, should now consider seriously how they could captivate their target market or keep their zealous audience remain gaga over them.

The value now lies on the substance or the content aspiring/novice/veteran influencers have to upload over their social media accounts for which they are/have not been paid for as endorsers.

This is among the striking conclusions of the “2019 Social Media Influencers Survey” of the communications solutions firm BPG Group and leading research agency YouGov, released to the media on Tuesday.

The survey, conducted between Aug.6 and 22, covered 18 to 35-year-old 1,000 respondents from the UAE and Saudi Arabia—with 850 as ardent followers of social media influencers.

Of the 850, 420 follow between one and 10 influencers, 280 between 11 and 20 influencers, and 300 over 20 influencers.

The survey is the fourth edition since the Internet breached through the powerful and influential tri-media industry 48 years back, which, according to “The Chronological History of the Social Media History” by Christopher McFadden in the “Interesting Engineering” portal, began in 1971 when the first email was sent. This was followed in 1986 with the automated mailing list manager Listserv and in 1988, the Internet Relay Chat.

It was in 1996 when the first social media platform was invented, the In 2002, Friendster; 2003, Linkedin; 2004, Facebook; 2005, YouTube; 2006, Twitter; 2009, WhatsApp; 2010, Instagram; 2011, Snapchat; 2013, Selfies Trend; 2015, Filter; and 2017, Tiktok.

The “history” outlined the social media users’ balloon that demonstrates how influencers could impact on everyone: 970 million in 2010, 1.22 billion in 2011, 1.4 billion in 2012, 1.59 billion in 2013, 1.91 billion in 2014, 2.14 billion in 2015, 2.28 billion both in 2016 and 2017, and 2.62 billion in 2018. The respondents perceive social media influencers in various classifications: 640 see them as celebrities; 520, regular posters of topics; 510, subject matter experts; and 460, with a large following. While 780 “are aware that influencers can buy followers, likes and comments on Instagram,” huge following in all platforms still has bearing: 510 of the 1,000 trust and would seek advice from influencers with one million followers, 380 with 100,000 followers, and 110 with 10,000 followers.

Yet, 770 of the respondents “believe the quality and the type of content is more important than the number of followers, 790 have un-followed an influencer due to numerous endorsements and irrelevance, 730 can decipher paid social media influencers based on their content, 590 “are less likely to trust an influencer review if they have been paid to advertise it,” and 690 would rather refer to friends more than influencers for their concerns and reviews.

BPG Group Business director Arif Ladhabhoy commented: “The survey confirms that content is the key factor driving consumers to follow influencers. Numbers still affect perception and trust, with a majority stating that they trust Macro-influencers the most. However, content still remains a priority. There is no longer room for shallow content that fails to resonate with consumers of for advertising content that masquerades as authentic content.

“Brands and influencers have to invest in developing content that resonates and connects with consumers,” he added.

Entertainment with 940 followers of the 1,000 respondents tops the list of social media influencers’ categories. Second to the ninth are food with 920 followers; travel, 910; 900, technology; 890, lifestyle; 880, arts and culture; 850, fashion and beauty; 800, interiors; 780, automotive; and 750, gaming. Of the 1,000 respondents, 780 have followed a brand, 730 have discovered new trends, 730 have bought goods, 710 have dined somewhere, 660 have availed of services, and 540 have travelled elsewhere as influencers have recommended.

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