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Majority of Irish adults believe social media influencers are inauthentic and misrepresent real life

The finding was contained in a survey carried out by the ASAI.

Image: Shutterstock/Artie Medvedev

THE MAJORITY OF Irish adults believe social media influencers misrepresent real life and that they are not authentic, according to a new survey.

Research commissioned by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) also reveals half of Irish adults are concerned by a lack of transparency among influencers.

The representative survey was carried out as part of efforts by the ASAI to examine the influencer industry in Ireland and learn about its impact on consumer behaviour.

The agency said last year that it was fielding increasing numbers of complaints about influencers, with consumers now more likely to contact the ASAI about online ads than those on television and radio.

Under ASAI guidelines, bloggers must ensure that marketing communications are clearly disclosed as such. The agency also recommends that bloggers use “identifiers” on paid posts like the hashtags ‘#ad’ or ‘#sp’ for ‘sponsored’ content.

A new survey conducted on behalf of the agency found that three in four respondents (73%) were familiar with influencer marketing, the majority of whom (80%) believe that when an influencer posts an ad, they are paid by a brand to post positive content.

However, more than half (51%) of respondents told the ASAI they were concerned about a lack of transparency in marketing by influencers, although two in five (42%) also said influencers are more responsible with advertising than they were three years ago.

Around three in five respondents (59%) said they find over-edited photos ‘annoying’, with the same number (59%) telling the ASAI that they find influencers inauthentic and that they believe they misrepresent real life.

More than half of people (52%) said they were concerned about content that takes advantage of impressionable audiences, while just under half (49%) said they took issue with repetitive posts (49%). 

The results are based on the views of 1,224 participants across a broad demographic, who were interviewed online last October, and are representative of the adult population.

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ASAI Chief Executive Orla Twomey acknowledged that influencers fulfilled a role in advertising online, and suggested this will increase in the coming years.

“However, with power lies great responsibility as consumers are demanding more from the influencers they follow and trust,” she said.

“The report findings prove that if influencer marketing is to sustain and deliver desired return on investment, trust and transparency needs to be established every step of the way, from influencer selection right through to campaign delivery.”

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