A new study has revealed that 86 percent of consumers have lost trust in influencers who endorse brands online claiming the influencers relaying the product information are no longer credible.
Over the past few years, online influencers have become a big part of Internet culture. The country has been part of this wave, with many content creators investing in online channels that have amassed a large following.
In turn, many commercial brands have sought to partner with these creators in a bid to create resonant content that can reach their customers, especially on social media.
Many brands have hoped to tap into the access and relationship that influencers have with their audiences to create favorable associations.
However, the new study shows that very few Kenyan consumers actually trust influencers to recommend brands or products to them.
“As more brands ventured into influencer marketing, many influencers bartered their credibility for advertising dollars. This has led to influencers endorsing too many brands and even some that are in direct competition or recommending products they have never actually tried nor use in their daily lives,” explains Odanga Madung, Data Science lead at Odipo Dev.
He also adds that the data shows consumers have picked up on this trend and have returned to directly evaluating brands for themselves or relying on close friends they can trust.
As per the study, 53 percent of Kenyan consumers report that they now actually trust brands the most to relay information about products to them. This is a dramatic opposite effect of what companies hoped to achieve with influencer marketing.
More findings from the study by Odipo Dev show that content from niche topics such as fashion, food, fitness, and travel that Kenyan influencers tend to favor, still have a long way to go in terms of mainstream appeal.
The study notes that in Kenya, traditional media channels like TV, radio, and newspapers are still the leading platforms of influence. This is very evident from a ranking included in the study of the top ten most engaging social media personalities in Kenya in 2018.
The rankings reveal that Nairobi Governor, Mike Sonko was the most engaging personality on Facebook in Kenya in 2018. President Kenyatta is the most engaging on Twitter while musician; Akothee leads the way on Instagram.
Overall, politicians, musicians, comedians and other mainstream celebrities who have heavy traditional media circulation fill the top rankings.
Influencers have become a big talking point amongst Kenyans. In 2018, there were 22,000 mentions about influencers in Kenya. However, sentiment towards them was overwhelmingly negative.
Such high levels of negative conversation about influencers definitely have an effect on consumer attitudes towards the practice and as a result, affects their willingness to purchase based on influencer recommendations.