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Are consumers becoming wary of online influencers?

19 March 2018

Are consumers becoming wary of online influencers?Attitudes to bloggers and social media stars that make money via affiliate links may be changing according to new research.

A study by Affilinet has looked at consumer perceptions of influencers and the money they can make through their social media channels and blogs. It has found that half of UK consumers would avoid clicking through to a link to stop the influencer from making commission on a sale.

Affilinet polled 2,299 UK adults that are active on social media and who follow a range of influencers with at least 100,000 + followers. Just under a quarter (23%) of the respondents said they had previously clicked through to buy something after seeing it featured or reviewed on an influencer's blog or social media pages. However, 48% said they would avoid clicking on an affiliate link in order to prevent the influencer making a financial gain.

Respondents gave a number of reasons for refusing to click on an affiliate link:

  • 29% said influencers already make too much money;
  • 21% said influencers are not honest about the products they promote and the money they make;
  • 14% said they didn't agree with making money through blogs and social media;
  • 9% said they were jealous of the influencers' lifestyles;
  • 5% said they didn't like being tracked online.

The majority of those polled (82%) said influencers should be more open and transparent about the amount of money they make as a result of promoting products for brands on their blogs and social media channels.

Rick Leake, client services director at Affilinet, said: "For those that don't fully understand the ins and outs of running a successful blog and highly engaged social media channels, it can be all too easy to assume that everyone with a certain number of followers are making the kind of money that the likes of Zoella and Tanya Burr are reportedly bringing in … in reality, with such a growing number of influencers emerging, it's never been harder to stay afloat as a freelance blogger and content creator."

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