Brands and influencers divided over control of posts

Mark Johnson's picture

Nearly half of all marketers feel they should have complete control over the marketing elements of posts from the influencer they work with.

That’s according to s new report from London-based influencer marketing service, Takumi, which has just published its findings on the Instagram influencer marketing industry’s dynamics.

The study included more than 4,000 consumers, marketers and influencers across the UK, US, and Germany. 

The report ‘Trust, transactions and trend-setters: the realities of influencer marketing’, focuses on four key themes: legislation, authenticity, influence & trust, and creativity & control.

Brands need to be clearer but not controlling

Marketers outsourcing their creative content generation to social media influencers need to trust influencers as much as they claim to, Takumi said.

At loggerheads: Marketing heads, social media influencers in tug-o-war over control

Although up to 86% of marketers say they trust influencers, some brands are stifling the results by controlling the creative process.

Incredibly, two in five (39%) US & UK marketers, and over half (55%) German marketers want complete control over the caption and visual of an influencers’ post, viewing it as the same as an advertisement they have paid for another channel, such as TV or radio. 

What matters most to influencers when working with brands? 

  • Creative control
  • Potential for long term partnership
  • Clear brief

On average, less than half (46%) of the influencers surveyed trusted brands to work with them fairly and it’s clear marketers and influencers are wrangling over creative control. 

Many creators are struggling to work with opaque briefs – and brands are holding influencers to the same quality standards as they their own teams, but without giving influencers the budgets, timescales, and clarity afforded to in-house creative teams.

Top reasons consumers ‘unfollow’

A third (34%) of all consumer respondents credit influencers with purchases made in the past six months, rising significantly to 91% of 16 - 24 years olds in the UK and US. 

Almost a fifth of consumer respondents also trust influencers' recommendations more than their friends’. But consumers’ trust is easy to lose, Takumi noted. 

Top reasons for unfollowing influencers are: 

  • Disingenuous endorsements (72%)
  • The promotion of unrealistic or unsuitable lifestyle or body images (69%)
  • Dramatically misrepresenting themselves or their lifestyles (69%)
  • Discovering the purchase of fake followers (68%)
  • Industry calls for regulation development 

More than a third (37%) of consumers trust influencers to clearly signpost paid partnerships, but shockingly, almost two thirds (62%) of influencers say they have been pressured by brands to contravene guidelines at least once.

Almost nine out of ten marketers (88%) and influencers (87%) in the UK and US, agree their markets’ regulatory guidelines are clear - but in Germany, this falls to just 52% of marketers and 11% of influencers being confident about ad disclosure guidelines. 

Overall, there is strong agreement that these guidelines need further development, with 46% of marketers in all three markets responding as such.

“Over the course of 2019, the influencer marketing industry has come under increasing scrutiny, and trust among consumers, brands and influencers across the world is being put to the test”, Adam Williams, CEO of Takumi said .

“Influencers continue to directly inform consumer purchasing behaviour, but consumers are increasingly savvy. 

“Through this research, consumers have made it clear what wins their trust, and what they value; transparency, authenticity, honesty.

“Marketers must take a proactive and responsible role in educating about and enforcing correctly labelled ads. Developing and upholding regulations is a shared responsibility.

“This will require good communication with influencers, many of whom are struggling with opaque briefs. 

“Influencers are asking for greater clarity but also want creative licence and the partnerships that can successfully achieve this will be the real winners.”

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