Consumers Find Influencers More Trustworthy than Brands During the Pandemic

By Beauty Packaging Staff | 05.26.20

A survey reveals strong opportunities for influencer marketing -- but are influencers driving more beauty sales right now?

New data released by Matter Communications reveals consumers are spending more time and are increasingly engaging with influencers on social platforms during COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

The data shows the majority of consumers are finding influencer content appropriate and helpful – with an overwhelming trust in influencer content over posts from brands, impacting purchasing behaviors.

Photo above: screenshot via Instagram/KandeeJohnson Kandee Johnson is a top beauty influencer on Instagram with 1.8 million followers. See embedded post below.

Matter surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers in May to uncover how COVID-19 has impacted social media consumption, influencer perceptions, and purchasing habits.

Mandy Mladenoff, president, Matter Communications says, “Brands of all sizes are grappling with how to shift or amplify their marketing, PR and social media strategies to adapt right now, and a challenge for many is how to authentically connect with consumers. Our data makes one thing clear: influencer marketing presents a unique and timely opportunity for companies to engage with a thoughtful, nuanced approach.”

The Use of Social Media is on the Rise

Since social distancing restrictions started, consumers are spending more time engaging with social platforms and seeing more content from influencers, as a result.
  • 63% have spent more time viewing and/or posting on social platforms
  • 50% have spent more time viewing live-stream social content
  • 55% of consumers ages 18-29 are viewing more live-stream content
  • 58% of consumers are noticing more sponsored content from influencers
For brands already utilizing influencers, most appear to be striking the right tone during COVID-19 -- offering useful content.  
  • Only 19% feel influencer content has been “tone-deaf and/or unhelpful”
Putting Trust in Influencers 

When it comes to brand, product or service recommendations, consumers continue to place their trust in friends, family and influencers over brands.

The survey reveals that 61% are likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member or influencer on social platforms, while only 38% are likely to trust recommendations from a brand on social platforms.

Trust in recommendations from friends, family members and influencers shared via social posts is strongest among younger audiences:
  • 66% of consumers ages 18-29
  • 61% of consumers ages 30-44
  • 60% of consumers ages 45-60
  • 53% of consumers over 60
Are Influencers Driving Beauty Sales?

A sweeping majority of consumers have had some part of their buying journey impacted by influencer content.
  • 82% have either purchased, researched or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing friends, family or influencers post about it.
However, when asked which types of influencer posts consumers are most interested in seeing, Beauty ranks 5th after food, health, and tech. Next, when asked about being 'inflluenced' to make a purchase, beauty didn't make the top 3 -- see below. 

Consumers are most interested in seeing influencer posts about:
  • Food and beverage (56%)
  • Health and wellness (48%)
  • Personal technology (45%)
  • Consumer goods (40%)
  • Beauty and personal care (33%)
  • Baby and kids (13%) 
Of these content categories, consumers are most likely to act on (purchase, research, spread the word or consider) influencer posts about:
  • Food & beverage (51%)
  • Health & wellness (39%)
  • Personal technology (37%)
'Relatable' Personalities Beat Celebs

When looking at the categories of content respondents prefer to follow, Matter examined which types of influencers resonate across health and wellness, beauty and personal care, food and beverage, baby and kids, personal technology and consumer goods:
  • Consumers prefer influencers with relatable personalities (60%-70% of each category) followed by expert personalities (50%-58% of each category).

  • Only 17%-22% of consumers prefer celebrity influencers over personalities seen as either aspirational, relatable, expert, “just for fun” or well-known non-celebrity individuals, like authors or public figures.
Mladenoff adds, “Consumers trust influencers who serve as positive, relatable resources and help inform their buying decisions. However, brands shouldn’t worry – they just need to focus on compelling, strategic programs with influencers to further reach the right audience at the right time.”

Read More

6 Things to Know Before You Start an Influencer Marketing Campaign