Influencer marketing has been around for a long time, but it was only in recent years that it became a prevalent marketing strategy incorporated by companies around the globe. Cutting across various industries such as gaming, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), apparel & fashion, luxury goods, automotive, F&B, fashion and lifestyle, beauty, health, and many more, influencers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are hired to push products to consumers.
Being in an era where influencer marketing is prevalent in promoting brands and products, one may assume that it is an effective marketing strategy for businesses. However, recent research conducted by YouGov showed that influencers may not have as great of an influence as we would expect them to have, especially on Singaporeans.
YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm, recently conducted a survey on 1,111 Singaporeans to find out how our buying decisions are influenced by these influencers and/or KOLs. According to the survey, the top 3 criteria to be deemed as an influencer by Singaporeans are social influence or expert level of knowledge (51%), production of high-quality content (50%), and a high number of followers on social media (48%).
YouGov went on to categorise influencers into 2 groups, human and virtual influencers. Interestingly, the results show that more than half (67%) of Singaporeans feel that human influencers have little or no effect on their purchasing decisions. Likewise, a whopping 81% of Singaporeans claim that virtual influencers have little or no impact on them.
Noting that 49% of Instagram users follow influencers, it seems as if influencer marketing is not as an efficient marketing strategy for Singaporeans as we thought. This should push companies to reassess the effectiveness of influencer marketing and question why the majority of Singaporeans are not swayed by influencers.
Several possible questions then come to mind: Are influencers not showing the expert level of knowledge in the products or brands they are representing? Is the quality of content that influencers put out considered not high enough for Singaporeans? Are companies partnering with the right influencers? How can companies work together with influencers to flip these statistics around? Should influencers bear the brunt of responsibility for these results? Is the content put out too pushy and direct for Singaporeans? Is the content irrelevant to the brand or product being promoted? Are Singaporeans not influenced due to the knowledge that influencers are putting out sponsored rather than organic content? Or are Singaporeans just indifferent?
While the rise of influencers and their respective management platforms have spawned an ever-growing and lucrative KOL industry throughout Asia, new YouGov research is casting doubt on how much influence influencers really have on Singaporean consumers' purchasing decisions.