Local lockdowns had a weaker effect on consumer interaction with social media influencers than previously thought.
According to research by Influencer and GlobalWedIndex, 96% of consumers who actively follow influencers were interacting with them at similar rates as they did before COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns.
The survey of over 2,000 consumers in the UK and US in May 2020 shows that despite budget cuts to influencer marketing, consumers were just as active in interacting with creators.
Previous research noted that 65% of influencers posted fewer sponsored posts.
A whopping 72% of survey respondents said they were spending more time on social media during outbreaks and 64% were likely to continue to use social media to the same extend post-outbreak.
However, the categories that attracted the fastest growth during lockdowns included news (26%), food (26%), physical wellbeing (25%) and health and nutrition (22%) influencers.
When it comes to content type, Gen Z and millennials are after funny creator content (45%) and behind-the-scenes insights (37%) to find out more about the influencers they follow.
Gen X and boomers preferred tutorials (43%-47%, respectively).
These are important insights for brands looking to obtain their influencer marketing campaigns to the relevant audiences.
TiKTok made notable gains in attracting new users during the pandemic with 12% more consumers using the app to follow influencers.
Overall though, YouTube (74%) ranks top as a platform to follow creators, followed by Facebook (66%), Instagram (58%), Twitter (51%) and Pinterest (44%).
But why do consumers follow creators? Among the main motivators are to learn something new (51%), entertainment (49%), interesting content (43%) and to be inspired (38%).
And there’s even more that brands can do to remain relevant. Consumer expectations for branded posts include that they are informative (47%), positive (41%), have purpose (37%) and personality (35%).
According to the research:
“From our data, consumers who follow influencers have purchased products in beauty/personal care, fashion, entertainment subscriptions, and food delivery services/cooking kits the most over the past 2 months. And for future purchase intentions, we can see that education platforms are on the agenda for around 1 in 4 of this audience. Similarly, travel is also likely to experience a bounce back as intention to purchase vacations and flights increases.”