Are Influencers still effective in advertising?

Although we may not think it, influencer marketing dates to as far back as the 1800s, when international companies such as Coca-Cola sought to gain traction to their brand by sending out their products to influential figures of society. Nowadays, thanks to the birth of the internet era and the coining of the term 'blogging' in 1997, influencer marketing is now on track to be worth up to $15 by 2022 (according to Business Insider). However, are influencers still as effective as they used to be? Are they actually trusted? Or, do their audiences believe that it's all a money game?

As both a blogger and someone who follows and engages with other influencers, I can in many ways see different angles of the Influencer industry. I've been blogging for over two years and consequently have been fortunate enough to enroll in influencer programs with recognized brands such as Dermalogica, become a brand ambassador for an online retailer and create content for some of my favorite brands. However, before being in this position myself, I always used to question even my most trusted influencer's opinion: surely they just feel obliged to leave a positive review?

However, since being in the shoes of an 'influencer' myself (very small scale!), I have swiftly come to realize that this isn't exactly the case. It took over a year of consistent and avid blogging before a brand even considered turning its head towards my blog, and in that time I had built up a level of trust with my readers. Yes - I'll admit - when my first PR parcel arrived on my doorstep and it was just as nice in person, I felt an urge to make the most glowing review I could compose. But, then again, surely that trust with my following that I'd worked so hard to build would all just come tumbling down if they could sense an element of dishonesty? As a blogger, you very quickly realize that honesty is the best policy; yes, there is that initial desire to please a brand, but ultimately, credibility and audience trust takes the first spot.

The issue of distrust in the influencer Industry is only worsened by influencer scandals, like failing to declare when an item is gifted. Back in January 2019, social media influencers including Zoe Sugg, Alexa Chung, and Rita Ora were reported by the CMA for not clearly stating when a post was advertorial or a product had been gifted. Although this helped to set in place a stricter set of guidelines, it did leave a dent in their audience's trust and place a question mark on the future of influencer marketing

But, short answer: yes. Influencers are still effective in the advertising industry. When you compare the costs and reach of traditional advertising methods to influencer advertising, you can see why it's on track to becoming a $ 15 billion industry.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear!


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