According to an article in Time.com, teenagers are only too well aware that they will be hit with advertising every time they check YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. In most cases these ads leave little impression and are simply scrolled past.
Although this might sound like an advertiser’s nightmare, sponsored videos from so-called online influencers are a different matter. These influencers are often seen as being minor celebrities and are paid by brands to talk about their products to their fans. Even though teenagers are well aware that these influencers are being paid, sometimes enormous sums of money, they will still listen to what they have to say and this does impact their buying choices.
Apparently this is due to the fact that teenagers trust these people to some degree and think they wouldn’t sell a product they didn’t believe in. They also appreciate the fact that many influencers are open about their financial arrangements, making teens more open to hear what they have to say about a product, even if it doesn’t result in them buying it immediately.
Teens have a $44 billion annual purchasing power and will often carry brand loyalties into young adulthood, and marketers have found influencers offer them a way to advertise to an engaged audience. Since YouTube has become saturated with so-called vloggers, marketers are now turning their attention towards what are called “micro-influencers.” These are people who may not have so many people following them, but those that do so tend to be more devoted. Increasingly, ad agencies are choosing to shift their purchasing power from TV to YouTube and Snapchat has recently opened its platform to more advertisers. Snapchat works with certain brands to make custom filters and lenses that will add unique effects to users’ photos. This creates highly shareable ads. A good example is Taco Bell, where a filter turned users’ faces into tacos.
It’s been found that teenagers respond more readily to ads that are seen to be casual and will automatically assume that products mentioned on social media are sponsored. As such, they tend to want more control over the ads they see and this could be why they respond more easily to messages through an influencer. An influencer’s success relies on their feeling of authenticity and if they are good then they can end up feeling like a friend who is simply saying what they feel about a certain product. Paying celebrities to advertise products is not a new idea, but good influencers have the ability to become well-known quite quickly.