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GWI Following Brands Influencers on Social May2021Influencers are popular with members of Gen Z, according to a recent report [download page] from GWI. The report reveals that 28% of young adults (ages 16-23) across the globe follow influencers on social media. Millennials aren’t far behind, with almost 1 in 4 (23% of) adults ages 24-37 following influencers.

Most influencer followers are following accounts or individuals who post content related to travel (62%), personal healthcare (58%) and fitness and exercise (52%). They’re also following accounts for DIY and home improvement (47%), fashion (46%), beauty (45%) and charities (33%).

Gen X and Boomers who use social media appear to be less on board with following influencers — only 16% and 9%, respectively do so.

However, older adults do have something in common with younger generations: they’re all more likely to follow a brand they purchase from/are considering purchasing from than they are to follow an influencer. About one-third of Gen Zers (33%), Millennials (36%) and Gen Xers (31%) follow specific brands on social media. Meanwhile, about one-fifth (22%) of Boomers follow brands.

Top Channels

Influencers and brands can be found on every social media platform, but some platforms appear to see more engagement with sponsored posts than others. Instagram comes out ahead as the platform where users have clicked on a sponsored/promoted post in the last month: nearly all Instagram users have clicked on some kind of promoted post. Following close behind, Facebook and TikTok are neck-and-neck, while Snapchat has the smallest proportion of users clicking sponsored posts.

Separately, though, data from Upfluencer’s database indicates that influencer post engagement rates are far higher on TikTok than on Instagram or YouTube.

For those buying from sponsored social media posts, built-in calls to action help push those sales. Some 13% of social media users say a “buy” button is a top purchase driver. This is especially true with gaming (22%) and social (22%) live-streamers, Instagram TV users (20%) and those that follow influencers (19%).

Why People Use Social

Even with the aforementioned disparities between generations, the main reasons people use social media are broadly the same for all users. Respondents claim their main reasons for using social media include keeping in touch with family and friends (50%), filling spare time (37%) and reading news stories (36%).

While many social media users are following influencers and brands, these are the least likely reasons people give for using social media. Only about one-fifth of internet users say their main reason for using social media is to follow celebrities or influences (21%) or to get updates on brands (23%). Likewise, about one-quarter (27%) of users are using social media to find new products to purchase.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a Q4 2020 survey of 180,852 worldwide internet users and 38,049 influencer followers ages 16-64.

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