The three biggest surprises of the influencer engagement survey 2016

In the 4.5 years since The Remarkables Group began, the absence of Australian-centric research on the role and impact of influencers has been a constant pain point.

So we decided to do something about it.

We worked for three months with an expert independent research team – The Insights Grill – to create what is Australia’s first study on the role influencers play in consumers’ lives.

Founder of The Insights Grill, Ben Grill, was formerly Head of Insights at NewsLifeMedia and also at OMD.   We tasked Ben and his team with creating the first piece of independent research into the role and impact of influencers.

The research piece comprised of three distinct parts:

  1. A survey of 2,600 of The Remarkables Group’s influencers’ audience
  2. The same survey to 1,200 of the general population
  3. Unprompted video diaries with a different sample size of our influencers’ followers

The top insights were revealed at two sold-out events in Sydney and Melbourne in September.

Lorraine presenting the Influencers Engagement Survey 2017

Lorraine presenting the Influencers Engagement Survey 2017

 

 

Beth from BabyMac and Lauren Gooch, Digital Communications Manager at Henkel

Much of the findings were exactly in line with what we know anecdotally from speaking to both our influencers and their readers, however there were some surprises in there too!

Surprise 1: The influencers’ audience don’t see themselves as trendsetters 
Adoption curve

Adoption curve

A note on the adoption curve:

  • When any new trend hits, the first to jump on it will be the Innovators – they need no prompting from anyone to dive into something novel
  • The Early Adopters see what the Innovators are up to, and jump onboard
  • The Early Majority follows having seen the Early Adopters go before them
  • The Late Majority then follows the Early Majority’s lead
  • The Laggards need the most convincing – they’re the very last to commit

We had a major assumption that those consuming influencer content would consider themselves as ahead of the curve generally when it comes to trends.

We were wrong.

Early majority adopters for trying new products

Early majority adopters for trying new products

In fact, most of our influencers’ audience self-identified as being in the Early Majority – and a full quarter of them described themselves as being Laggards.

What does this tell us?

This audience is actively looking to others to set the example for their choices – from the food they eat, to the media they engage with, to their next holiday destination.

We asked both survey samples: “Which of the following does reading “X” (TRG audience) / The blog you read most often (general population), provide you?

The response was:

 

What we know by interpreting both these insights is that The Remarkables Group influencers’ audience is cynical to new trends, which makes them a tricky audience for brands to convert – they are more likely to mistrust a brand’s advertising or media coverage. In the words of Nike/Jordan’s Global Director of Advertising Desmond Marzette, “consumers are becoming immune to advertising”.

Yet they are actively looking to their favourite blogger to suggest new things for them to try – indicating that the blogger is cutting through the “noise” of other marketing messages.

Surprise 2: the audience don’t see the influencer as being influential

We talk about “influence” and “influencers” ALL THE TIME during our days at The Remarkables Group.   I’m pretty sure that if we had a dollar for every time we used each of these words, we’d be safely installed on our own private Caribbean island by now.

After all, this “influence” is the raison d’etre of what we do.

We asked each audience:

Which of the following words do you associate with the blog “X” (TRG sample) / The blog you read most often? (general population sample)


 

Only a quarter of The Remarkables Group’s influencers’ audience thought that their favourite influencer was, well, influential. Instead the words they chose to describe them were “authentic/real”, “relatable”, “inspiring” and “trustworthy”.

It seems that the term “influencer” is limited to the boardrooms of everyone from brands in North Ryde to digital agencies in Fitzroy. In the audience’s own eyes, they have a trusted and genuine adviser whose recommendations they have grown to rely on.

Surprise 3: 1 in 20 of the general population have purchased something recommended by an influencer from The Remarkables Group

We know anecdotally from the emails, social media comments and conversations the audiences of the influencers we represent send them that they are acting on brand recommendations from the influencer.

This stacked up in the survey insights – with 40% of respondents saying they had purchased at least one thing recommended by the influencer in the previous 12 month period – the highest ranking channel.

What we didn’t expect was for the general population (a completely random selection of respondents) to also say they had been influenced by the influencers in our group… a full 5% said that they had also purchased something recommended by the influencer!

To put this in context, Taste.com.au came in at 3%, Mamamia at 3% and Kidspot at 2%. Given the comparison in scale of these major portals to the audiences of our influencers, that’s an enormously powerful measure of their impact.

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This is of course a very cut-down version of the overall insights – a video version of the presentation is coming your way soon…

We’re also taking the findings on a roadshow to select brand and agencies – if you would like to book a visit with us to present the findings to your team, please email Ashleigh@theremarkablesgroup.com.au.