Does Influencer Marketing Still Drive Brand Discovery?

In this week’s chart series, we will take a step-by-step tour through the insights you need to know in the online purchase journey. Today, we will look at the most impactful forms of brand discovery in 2018, and see how a much-discussed contender, influencer marketing, compares.

Despite a fragmented media landscape, it’s mainstream resources like search engines, TV ads and word-of-mouth recommendations that are the top sources of brand discovery. While it may have lost top spot to search engines in 2016, and is not the mainstay of mass media it once was, TV ads still offer impressive penetration. Even though 43% of internet users ad block, 3 in 10 discover brands through ads seen online.

It’s worth highlighting the gender split in the brand discovery journey. Social sources like word-of-mouth or social media recommendations are particularly effective with women, whereas men are likely to find brands through content like TV shows or websites as well as through friends.

Against this background of resilient traditional sources, influencer marketing has struggled to compete. You could argue that ads from influencers can be designed to be harder to identify than a print or TV ad, but their impact has still been limited to this point. Just 1 in 10 internet users discover brands through vlogs, and 14% through celebrity endorsements.

Despite more engagement in certain APAC markets and among Gen Z, the increase in influencer activity over the past few years hasn’t been matched by an increase in brand discovery year-on-year. Influencer marketing hasn’t been helped by a number of recent controversies with content creators, or a perceived lack of transparency in influencer posts.