Regulations from the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK are tightening rules and guidelines making it compulsory for influencers to declare when a post is an ad, when a post has been paid for, and also banning the use of filters when promoting beauty products. These regulations mean that content on social media is becoming more authentic as there are firm rules about non-disclosure.

However, global research of 9,000+ consumers reveals:

  • #nofilter is not enough: Four out of five global consumers want stricter rules on influencers to disclose photoshop or beauty enhancing filters used on public content.
  • Demand for transparency: Two in five consumers feel regulations have made no difference to how much they trust influencers, and almost half (42%) don’t think influencers have become more authentic in the last five years.
  • ‘Everyday influencer’ reigns supreme: Those that share day-to-day content are now the most trusted source for authentic and genuine content for two in five consumers (38%).
  • Authenticity is key to instilling trust: Non-sponsored posts such as recommendations, reviews, and photos and videos, gain the most trust from consumers (83%).

Quality over quantity

Whether it’s friends, family, or wider networks – those that share day-to-day content, products, and places that they find a genuine interest in, without an agenda to promote, are now the most trusted source for authentic and genuine content.

Subject matter experts – for example, those who focus on beauty, fashion, food, DIY, and mummy content – are viewed as the most trusted to share authentic and genuine content (39%). They are the perfect target for brands that want to sell a product, as recommendations are more trustworthy from these influencers.

Although, the millions of users who follow celebrity influencers should not be underestimated. Over a third of UK consumers mostly follow celebrity influencers (36%), but there is now a significantly lower level of trust associated with celebrities. Almost three-quarters of consumers (72%) care more about the content that the creator produces rather than the number of followers they are associated with.

Transparency is key

For an influencer to be truly powerful, trust and authenticity must be established between them and their audience. Countries around the world have implemented various regulations to enforce that transparency, for example, a law was recently passed in Norway that states influencers must declare if their post contains edited or altered content.

Despite these efforts, two in five consumers feel these rules have made no difference to how much they trust influencers. In fact, 80% of consumers globally – rising to 85% in the UK – still want to see stricter rules for influencers to disclose editing or filters they used on published content.

A third of UK consumers (32%) want to see influencers who don’t comply with advertising laws banned from social platforms permanently, and one in five want to see influencers banned from monetising their social media presence going forward, e.g. taking away their revenue streams if they break advertising rules.

This desire for genuine and unbiased reviews means that a large proportion (86%) of consumers seek out authentic user-generated content (UGC) before deciding to buy a product they’ve not personally tried before. As more consumers are favouring relatability and transparency from the content they consume, we may begin to see wider opportunities for anyone who is interested, to become a social media influencer.

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