Americans are reporting more influence of social media over the products they buy. Since 2019, influence has increased from 20% in 2020 to 42% so far in 2022.
Being under the influence of friends on social media is a common enough phenomenon, but so is being swayed by actual influencers. And a growing number of TikTok users are aware of the influence of social media personalities in their own lives. In January of 2021, nearly 70% of TikTok users reported not viewing any influencer content, but, this year, they are being more realistic.
The percentage of TikTok users claiming to watch zero influencer content dropped 24%. The greatest growth occurred among users who now say at least 10% of what they watch on the app is influencer content. Nothing changed dramatically for Instagram users, although they still have more users overall who say some percentage of their feed is influencer content.
Note that this data is among all TikTok and Instagram users, so even older generations who use the apps. This could make the numbers skew lower overall.
Age plays a significant role in understanding usage and influence of both Instagram and TikTok. Those 18- to 24-year-old users are the most likely to be viewing influencer content – or at least owning up to it.
What’s changed more for Instagram users is the reported influence of its content on the products they buy. Last January, 4% of Instagram users said social media influenced a lot of their purchases. Now, 15% of Instagram users say social media has a lot of influence over what they buy, covering a lot of previous distance between themselves and TikTok-ers who say the same.
A wide range of felt emotions correlate with the amount of influencer content TikTok and Instagram users consume. People who say 10% or more of their feed is influencer content report being stressed, sad, and afraid at a much higher rate than people who say they don’t consume any influencer content.
It is crucial to look at this data alongside reported happiness levels to see that this data is not necessarily saying people are happier without any influencer content at all. In fact, users who viewed some influencer content but less than 10% were actually the happier users, which argues for the concept of “everything in moderation.”
With more overall users than TikTok and a greater percentage of them being influenced to make purchases based on what they see, Instagram has a strong hold on entertaining and engaging Americans. But, TikTok’s capture of the Gen Z and Millennial audience could change that in the future. Ultimately, influencer content is continuing to have mass appeal with certain demographics and their behaviors.