Despite their popularity and overwhelming prevalence in today’s marketing world, few social media users buy products promoted online by influencers, and most seem to actively avoid sponsored posts that appear uninformative or don’t speak to their specific interests, according to recent findings released by portfolio website Visual Object.
The Visual Object survey, which asked social media users in the U.S. about their online engagement habits and what drives them to follow influencer accounts, discovered that a majority (58 percent) of social media users have not and never intend to purchase influencer-promoted products.
Instead, the survey suggests that most social media users are drawn toward influencers with specific subject matter expertise who provide informative, insightful content focusing on a shared interest. According to the survey, the most popular influencers are subject matter experts (34 percent), business leaders (29 percent) and wellness experts (28 percent), suggesting that influencers with specialized, niche followings are the most likely to engage followers and cultivate communities.
The study also discovered that many social media users tend to gravitate toward micro-influencers, or brand advocates with fewer than 10,000 followers, often recognized by brands as a budget-friendly alternative to partnering with influencers that command larger followings (and higher fees). According to the survey, most respondents who follow influencers (55 percent) said they typically follow brand advocates with fewer than 50,000 followers, further supporting the idea that most social media users tend to engage more with influencers that specialize in niche subjects and interests.
Finally, the Visual Objects survey found that most social media users are relatively selective about who they follow online, with a majority (57 percent) claiming they follow only five influencers or fewer.
The Visual Objects survey polled more than 500 active social media users in the U.S. in March. Data was collected in-house through Google Surveys.