Authenticity is what has always given influencers their power, and it’s what separates them other marketing messaging in the eyes of consumers. And social media has given influencers the clout and the platform to promote products. But new research from product trust advocates The Desire Company reveals that many consumers today doubt the credibility of influencer recommendations.
According to initial findings from a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Wakefield Research, a vast majority of consumers (87 percent) say it is likely that influencers don’t even use the products they advertise, and furthermore, only 1 in 10 (11 percent) believe that a social media influencer with millions of followers is a trustworthy source of information.
“Social media influencers have evolved into becoming the billboards of the Internet,” said Eric Sheinkop, co-founder and CEO of The Desire Company, in a news release. “Great at spreading mass awareness but lacking in their ability to properly educate consumers about products. Our experts have dedicated their lives to becoming the best at what they do which is why they are qualified to provide trusted product information to shoppers. Clearly trust takes time to earn, certainly longer than the length of a TikTok.”
It doesn’t help that many consumers have had a bad experience when purchasing an influencer-promoted product
More than 4 in 5 (82 percent) consumers who have purchased something based on an influencer’s pitch say they have had some sort of negative experience with the product, with the most common being that the product didn’t match the influencer’s claims (41 percent).
While a company may make a quick buck when they bring on an influencer to promote their product, poor customer experience has a lasting impact. More than 2 in 5 (42 percent) consumers who have dealt with the consequences of purchasing an influencer-recommended product say they are unlikely to purchase from that company again.
When it comes to a dependable way to cut through the glut of information available, consumers are beginning to look for trusted experts and professionals in their field
The study found that when making purchases, the majority (53 percent) of Americans rely most on recommendations from product experts in making purchasing decisions. About half (51 percent) agree that an expert product demonstration is the only review they need to be confident in their purchase decisions.
“Consumers are weary of sorting through massive amounts of online misinformation when shopping online,” continued Sheinkop. “Our study shows that the old approach of ‘more is more’ is not working for consumers who are being overwhelmed. This study clearly shows a demand from consumers for brands to move away from Influencer Marketing to Expert Marketing.”
The Desire Company was founded to provide shoppers with access to experts to help them find the right products for their needs and ensure they know how to use them. Its community of product reviewers is required to meet certain standards to ensure that the reviews provided are authentic and accurate.
The study of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by independent research firm, Wakefield Research, commissioned by The Desire Company.