ASAI Research Shows Irish Consumers Don’t Trust Social Media Influencers

New research carried out by Amarach for the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) reveals that just one in 10 Irish people trust social media influencers while over 62% believe that influencers post too much sponsored content. A further 67% consider edited images to be the most ‘annoying’ feature, while over 60% are ‘annoyed’ by the inauthenticity of influencers.

The research was carried out by ASAI as part of an effort to gain additional consumer-focused insights into influencer marketing and to ramp up its policy of influencers who appear to be consistently breaking the advertising codes pertaining to influencer marketing.

The research also shows that 7 in 10 (67%) are familiar with the practice of influencer marketing, with awareness being highest (75%) among those age 35 and under. A majority (71%) believe that when an influencer posts an ad, they are being paid by the brand to post positive content, which is slightly down from 80% in 2021.

In addition, the research noted that over half of Irish consumers (56%) trust brand advertisements more than they trust social posts by influencers.

The research also provides insight into people’s understanding of the use of hashtags and labeling in online advertising. Over half of consumers (55%) were able to reference various hashtags or phrases used to identify influencer advertising content – down 11% since last year. Among the most frequently recognized were #sponsored (61%), #ad (55%) and #paid partnership (46%). However, 59% of people confirmed they didn’t recognize #sp and 54% didn’t recognize the hashtag #iworkwith. In addition, 71% of people were aware that when an influencer posts an affiliate link that they are being paid by the brand being linked.

The research’s findings mirror similar findings in a report carried out by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) which is now working with ASAI to address some of the key issues.

“As we can see from this research over half of those surveyed remain bothered by both the lack of transparency in influencer marketing and not being able to distinguish content from advertising, which echoes similar results to the Social Media Influencer Report released by the CCPC last December, says Orla Twomey, chief executive of the ASAI.

Both the ASAI research and the CCPC report show that there is a need for more transparency from influencers with regard to labeling their sponsored content clearly and correctly, as well as more guidance and education for both consumers and influencers alike in this space. To help with this we are planning to continue implementing the use of AI tools and working with the CCPC to develop further guidance,” she says.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo

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