What do over 30s think of influencer marketing?

For this post I wanted to find out a little about what people over 30 think about influencer marketing. Do they know what an influencer is? Do they follow many (or any)? Do they think influencer marketing should be used within marketing and PR? I conducted a survey online and received some information that kind of confirmed everything I thought.

You may be wondering why I chose over 30s, in my opinion (and probably most) influencers and influencer marketing is quite well known amongst people under 30. Typically teenagers or people in their twenties tend to have an idea of what it means and could name a few influencers they either follow or know of.

Below I go through the questions and feedback I received. It is a mixture of positive and negative but I’ve included quotes throughout. Hopefully it’ll be insightful for both professionals and the people who answered it.

The Stats

This wasn’t a large study with 15 respondents, but everyone did provide some useful information.

80% of the respondents were women, so the majority of the feedback is from a female perspective. 66.7% of respondents were over the age of 50.

In terms of social media use, the platforms used by most were Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.

Which Social Media Platforms Respondents Use

Only 2 respondents use TikTok which is no surprise as 60% of TikToks users are ages 18-24. The other lowest were blogs and Snapchat.

Firstly I asked – Can you define what an influencer is? Which was later followed by defining influencer marketing

This one was as expected, most people used the original word ‘influence’ to define what it is, as one simply put “Someone who influences others”. Not wrong of course, they do. There were a few people who said no but if they tried to define it got the idea. The majority of the respondents knew what an influencer was or had a general idea. A couple examples are:

Female, aged 30-34: “Someone who uses their popularity on social media to promote products and get paid for it.”

Female, aged 55-59: “A person who uses social media to describe their experiences of products or services or to demonstrate their use and evaluate them. Good ones get loads of freebies to test. Some get paid to do it.”

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Panel define influencer marketing as “The art and science of forming, or changing, a public’s opinions and behaviours via a third party online. The practice can be via earned, paid or a hybrid initiative.”

Lets compare this to some of the answers I received:

Female, aged 55-59: “Use of people who can relate to your target audience to share ideas or demo products. They might go to hotels and discuss the food or service. They often look gorgeous so people want to be like them and associate with the products they endorse.”

Female, aged 50-54: “Brands use public figures such as influencers to promote their products by using their channels as marketing platforms”

Female, aged 40-44: “An influencer encourages people to purchase items, or change their opinions.”

Most answers were similar as the respondents seemed to grasp the concept of influencer marketing.

They were then asked if they thought there was a difference between an influencer and a celebrity

As you can see, 93% answered yes. I followed this question up with their reasons why they voted yes or no. Some of the responses included,

Male, aged 55-59: “An influencer does it as part of their position. A celebrity influences because of who they are.”

Female, aged 55-59: “Influencers can become celebrities through having huge followings however they are often not known before becoming an influencer.”

Female, aged 40-44: “A celebrity is famous and well known by many.”

There were a couple of replies I found most interesting and basically confirm what I said previously about younger people knowing more about influencers.

Female, aged 55-59: “I feel that celebrities are known to people of all ages due to film, television, music, sport etc and not just known to younger people on social media platforms”

Female, aged 40-44: “Influencers seem less famous to me, but my children know lots of people who they say are famous from online who I have never heard of.

I later defined what influencers were and the answers stayed the same.

The final question was “Do you think influencer marketing should be used as a way of reaching consumers?”

This was the most interesting question for responses. 73.3% of respondents voted yes.

Most respondents were accepting of the use of influencer marketing as a good way for brands to reach their target audience, with one respondent saying:

Female, aged 55-59: “Marketing is marketing whether in the traditional way (TV adverts/posters/newspaper ads etc) or the more modern way, through social media. Both ways are maximising their audience.”

A couple of people spoke about how influencers can be seen as relatable which is a good communication tactic. Part of the popularity of influencers is the reliability and personal views they provide. We are most likely, as consumers, to go with brands that people closest to us recommend. Influencers who resemble ourselves or our friends have a similar effect.

There was one answer to this question that I wanted to include in particular. It starts off by talking about today’s consumer habits and that “we shouldn’t be encouraged by more people to buy more consumables and throw-away items”. This is true and the carbon footprint that comes with the likes of fast fashion and changing technology is an issue, I agree. The next part of this answer then referred to using locally produced products and to stop “buying useless fripperies promoted by ‘influencers'”. One of the beauties of influencer marketing is that it allows local businesses to be promoted as it is a cheaper and more credible way of connecting with a target market. Especially through earned media. One trip to a local shop and a post on Instagram could reach a lot of people and open the shop to a wider audience.

For me, I just wanted to get an insight into what people over the age of 30 thought about influencer marketing. Although I didn’t reach a lot of people with the survey, some of the replies did confirm the idea that influencer marketing is seen as a way of targeting younger audiences.

For those of you who asked if Mrs Hinch is an influencer – yes she is! A very successful one.

I know this was a long post but I hope it was an interesting one for you to read. It was certainly interesting for me to see the responses. It was also fun to do a post based around other people’s opinions. Maybe I’ll do some more in the future. Let me know if you enjoyed reading it!