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Influencers User Generated Content Brand Strategy

Nearly 90% of consumers no longer trust influencers, new study finds


By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 6, 2023 | 4 min read

The findings suggest that consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that share content made by real customers instead of traditional, sponsored influencer content.

people taking photos of food with their phones

The study suggests that user-generated content is more trusted by consumers than sponsored content / Credit: Adobe Stock

Consumers are becoming fed up with influencer marketing and are starting to seek out user-generated content (UGC), or brand-related content created by customers instead, per a new study by user-generated content agency EnTribe.

The survey, released today, was fielded in April 2023 and polled more than 1,000 American consumers ranging from age 18 to 60+, to understand how consumers perceive brands that utilize traditional influencer content versus user-generated content.

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Of those surveyed, 86% stated that they are more likely to trust a brand that publishes user-generated content, compared to just 12%, who are inclined to purchase a product promoted by an influencer.

In addition, 81% of respondents said a brand’s use of influencers has either no impact or a negative impact on their perception of that brand, with more than half (51%) admitting they scroll right past influencer posts. Another 62% of respondents revealed that they have never purchased a product promoted by an influencer, while 42% of those who purchased a product endorsed by an influencer admitted to regretting the purchase.

According to Adam Dornbusch, founder and chief exec of EnTribe, these results underscore a larger shift from influencer marketing to brands focusing on content generated by consumers. “Influencer fatigue,” a term used to describe when audiences get tired of seeing repetitive influencer content, is a major driving factor of this shift.

“When we started on this mission, some companies wanted user-generated content. Others had never heard of it. Now, most companies understand that it’s a more authentic way to promote products,” says Dornbusch. “Consumers today are very aware, especially Gen Z, about influencers. They know they’re getting paid. Once they know they’re getting paid to promote a product, they lose authenticity.”

Why UGC?

Unlike influencer content, user-generated content is often made by customers and genuine fans of a brand, who often wish to engage with the brand for reasons other than sponsorships. Brands instead incentivize these creators to make content for a simple social media credit.

Most consumers feel they can trust a product recommendation coming from user-generated content; 90% of those surveyed reported having purchased a product after being influenced by friends or family. Another 82% say that they would be more inclined to buy from a brand if it incorporated more user-generated content into marketing initiatives.

Entribe conducted this study for the first time last year; the company plans to do it again later this year to understand how customers are continuing to approach social media feeds.

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