The world of social media influencing had a rough year of scandals but has that changed how U.S. consumers interact with and buy from influencers and bloggers? CivicScience ran a study to see if influencers are still – well – influential when it comes to their impact on purchase behavior. Some estimates show that brands will invest up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2020. 

A CivicScience survey of over 3,000 American respondents in 2019 found that 15% have purchased a product / service because an influencer or blogger recommended it or promoted it on social media. That number decreased from 19% at the end of 2018 meaning that overall, people have become slightly less persuaded by influencer ads and content.   

Instagram is for Influencers 

Still, 15% of U.S. consumers is a strong result for any sales / marketing strategy. One company capitalizing from the success rate is Instagram. Eight percent of Instagram’s user base says they’ve purchased an item directly through the platform.  

Another plus for Instagram is that 42% of daily users have made an influencer-based purchase – a rate that’s increased by 24% since 2018

You Can Count Influencers Among Things People Distrust 

One potential reason for both the year-to-year decline in influencer purchasing impact could be because of distrust. Nearly 70% of Americans in 2019 say they have “no trust” in influencers while only 2% say they do trust them.

What could help that? Disclosing which posts are sponsored or not. Sixty-six percent of Americans think influencers have a responsibility to do this “all of the time”.

As branding and advertising opportunities for brands continue to evolve, will influencer marketing become an even more significant portion of advertisers’ investments? While one barrier to impact and engagement may be trust and transparency, it’s safe to say that influencers are still an important strategy for brands – especially on Instagram.