Recently, Instagram expanded its experiment in hiding the number of ‘likes’ on another person’s post to multiple countries, including Australia.
Opinions on whether this is a positive or negative move, and whether this is a mental health or financial play, varies dramatically.
The true impact that social media influencers have on profit is also hotly debated.
New research from Power Retail, the number one resource for Australian Online Retail Industry insights, content and news, has found that at least 32 per cent of online purchases made in the last month can be directly attributed to influencers, which may be surprising to some.
The nationwide research initiative surveyed over 9,700 Australian online shoppers.
Power Retail managing director Grant Arnott says, “The impact of influencers is so great that many believe that Instagram’s recent trial of removing ‘likes’ was in response to the threat of posts by influencers overwhelming ‘genuine’ users.
This ‘impact’ is shown through our research as it concluded that Australian online retailers have embraced influencers as a marketing tool, with 86 per cent utilising them, and 49 per cent of retailers having multiple forms of relationships with influencers, including paid posts.”
He continues, “The mere arrival of Instagram not that many years ago was an immediate catalyst for growth for many brands, particularly in fashion and beauty. It’s exciting but it’s a jungle, and every Insta wannabe wants a piece of the action. Retailers need a big machete to cut through the crap – this report helps.”
Some of the other key findings include:
- Only 14 per cent of online retailers don’t use influencers.
- 44 per cent of online shoppers follow an influencer.
- 53 per cent of followers want their influencers to help them find bargains.
- Despite Gen Z (people aged under 25) having a huge presence on social media, the majority of followers (online shoppers) are aged between 25 to 44 (54 per cent).
- 42 per cent of online retailers who engage influencers have used a least 20 different influencers in the past 12 months.
Commenting on the future of influencers, Grant says, “The use of influencers has become a mainstream marketing tool for many online retailers and brands, but its immaturity and dearth of established performance data makes it a risk. Influencers are already at saturation level – the ever-rising volume will make it difficult for even the best of those influencers to achieve cut-through, and brands are likely to see diminishing returns.
“Plus, as we’ve witnessed recently with Instagram, relying on a platform that can make sweeping policy changes overnight is fraught with danger. Soon we’re going to see not just Instagrammers crying their eyes out, but brands as well.”