Many consumers across UAE, Saudi unfollow social media influencers – report

The survey revealed that 79 per cent of consumers unfollowed social media influencers due to contrasting values and increased promotional content



Social media influencers are not ‘influencing’ as many people in the region as they used to, according to a new survey by Dubai-based BPG group and research agency YouGov.

The fourth edition of the Social Media Influencers survey – polling 1,000 female and male respondents aged 18 – 35 years across the UAE and Saudi Arabia – revealed that while 85 per cent of respondents do follow social media influencers across the two countries, a whopping 79 per cent have unfollowed one or many of such influencers.

The detraction is primarily due to greater promotional content and contrasting ethics of such influencers, a statement said.

As many as 73 per cent of consumers could differentiate between authentic or paid-for content on an influencer’s page while 59 per cent are less likely to trust influencers’ recommendations based on paid content. Close to four in five respondents are aware of influencers’ ability to ‘buy’ followers and feedback on Instagram.

However, trusted social media influencers continue to play a significant role in outlining consumers’ purchasing decisions as 73 per cent of respondents have purchased a brand or tried a service on influencer recommendation and 73 per cent discover new trends by following them, the statement said.

Close to 71 per cent dined somewhere, 66 per cent have purchased services or products using a promo code, 54 per cent have chosen a travel destination and 78 per cent have followed a brand on social media due to an influencer.

“The survey confirms that content is the key factor driving consumers to follow influencers,” said Arif Ladhabhoy, business director, BPG Group.

“Numbers still affect perception and trust, with a majority stating that they trust macro-influencers the most, however, content still remains priority.”

Entertainment leads among top influencer categories, with 94 per cent of consumers, followed by food (92 per cent), travel (91 per cent), tech (90 per cent), lifestyle (89 per cent), arts and culture (88 per cent), fashion and beauty (85 per cent), interiors (80 per cent), automotive (78 per cent) and gaming (75 per cent), the survey revealed.