By Emma Videan
Brands are constantly on the attack, trying to get the most visibility for the lowest price. They’re coming in from all angles to be at the forefront of consumers’ minds and to be the one in 5,000 daily adverts that we actually remember.
Nowadays, it’s pretty much common knowledge that celebrities are paid to promote brands and products. More recently, we’re also coming to terms with how the once-humble YouTubers are being sent thousands of pounds worth of products with the hope of featuring in a vlog.
It was, therefore, only a matter of time before the ordinary citizen with follower counts as low as 1,000 began being courted for their influence. These nano-influencers are used for the reason that they are not famous and therefore the hope is that the consumers will trust them, as they are more relatable than celebrities.
It makes sense for the brands that don’t have to pay these people, but just send them a few free products as a subsidy for promotion. For the nano-influencer, I can also see the appeal. They get sent free products that they simply post about in return and the more that they do this, the more products other brands will send them. It seems like a mutually beneficial relationship.
However, the problem with saturating social media with more advertisements from people that probably wouldn’t have used the product unless they were sent it, is that social media looses its initial appeal. It’s not long they turn almost entirely into advertising platforms, particularly on YouTube and on Instagram where ‘influencers’ are most prominent. Marketing is seeping into all aspects of digital life and in a digital age this is damaging to the real and genuine users of social media, who want to actually use it to socialise.
From a economic perspective the issue with an excess of marketing is that the adverts become less effective. The rise of the influencer market means that less of these ‘influencers’ actually become well known and, as a consumer, I am almost completely numb to people that I knew at college promoting a makeup brand or piece of clothing.
Arguably, by brands such as PrettyLittleThing or MotelRocks advertising using nano-influencers, the brand image is cheapened as, from my point of view, they have to resort to ordinary citizens to promote their goods. On the other hand, brands such as GymShark employ ambassadors from Instagram and while these people are often not hugely well known, the brands image has been very well known within the sportswear industry.
To combat the over-saturation issue brands should be more selective in what they choose to advertise and with whom they choose as their influencers. However, it’s ultimately up to the platforms to monitor how they are being used and to give users the ability to filter out promotional posts. The further I am forced to consume advertising, the further I am pushed away from actually acting upon a brand and I’m hope that I’m not the only one.