Brace yourself for my unpopular opinion.
Instagram influencers are the backbone of product advertising. Every time you go on Instagram think about how many times you scroll past a post promoting a product. And when I say a promoted product it doesn’t have to be from the self-proclaimed influencer, but even from your favorite actor or athlete. So, now that you’re thinking of it that way, it’s probably a lot. On my social media pages it seems like I can’t pass three post without seeing a photo with the caption #ad. A few years ago, this marketing tactic worked. Extremely well. Now? The excessive Princess Polly and Crest Whitening Strips ads aren’t cutting it.
Before we talk about the downfalls of influencer marketing, let’s talk about its perks. Customers like hearing from a person that they trust. The word influencer is defined as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media”. They influence because they are trusted. Without these people having a trusted following, they wouldn’t be able to get other people to buy what they “love” so much. Have I bought things that an influencer promotes? Absolutely! I have girls and accounts that I follow that I feel like I have built a connection with, which makes me trust their recommendations, which leads me to purchase their beloved product. This form of product advertising does work. But it has to be done correctly. And as it has become more popular, this form of advertising is over saturating the product market. Therefore, decreasing its effectiveness.
Despite brand’s best efforts to appeal to the Gen Z and Millennial age group, something is missing between the consumers & their sought after purchase. These generations have taken it into their own hands to become a typical “Instagram influencer”, and it’s hurting the market. And I want to note that I am not knocking influencers in any sort of way. I know it is crazy hard work, time and effort to achieve the things that they do. Shoot I even struggle to work my full time job and get blog post up a few times a week. They work hard, but the influencer world is overdone. Oversaturated. It has been roughly ten years since Instagram started, and about the same time since the first influencers gained their following. Technology is evolving, and so is the product advertising in a digitally driven world.
According to Forbes, affiliate marking is already maturing. While it seems like every brand is on social media looking for people to push their product out to their target audience, classic, luxury brands like Bottega Veneta have steered clear of this tactic. Could this be because the market has too many brand’s doing too similar of advertising? Part of me thinks so. I give these luxury brands props for sticking to traditional advertising methods that seem to be working. Bottega doesn’t seem to be having a problem as their Mini Jodie & Chain Pouch have been seen everywhere for the past year.
Despite the constant change in advertising tactics, product marketing is important. And necessary for a brand to succeed. The question that remains though is what is next for the “influencer” world? Will Instagram remain on top, or will a new platform reign in the world of influencers? Hard to say due to the evolution of technology, but keep your eyes peeled for something other than the #ad.