The impact of social media influencers on driving consumer brand awareness, especially among millennials, has reached record high in the UAE. New research shows that 94 percent of in-house marketers in the UAE believe social media influencer marketing is now very significant for the success of their brands.
New data from the second edition of the BPG Cohn & Wolfe Influencers Survey, in association with YouGov, showed that almost half – 49 percent – of those polled currently work with social media influencers in the region to market their brand. This represents a significant shift from traditional advertising methods.
The survey interviewed over 100 in-house marketing and communication experts and brand managers across a diverse range of industries in the UAE to assess current trends in the use of social media influencers in marketing programmes.
A vast majority of brands believe that influencer marketing enabled them to tap into the digital community and more effectively reach their target audience. They also believe that it resulted in a high marketing return on investment (ROI).
BPG Cohn & Wolfe is the strategic public relations business of the BPG Group. Commenting on the results BPG Group CEO Avi Bhojani said, “Brands are now, more than ever before, relying on creative new ways to tell their story in a highly competitive landscape and are using social media influencers as a key part of their overall marketing strategy. The findings from our survey reveal that a majority of consumer brands in the UAE believe that they can reach the right target audience if they work with social media influencers.”
“Almost half of all brands, 45 percent, said they have appointed agencies to manage social media influencers, while 63 percent use an influencer directory to source influencers’ contacts and manage the engagement themselves. It shows that the market is definitely getting more sophisticated and focused on using digital platforms for customer engagement and conversations,” added Taghreed Oraibi, PR Director – Consumer Practice, BPG Cohn & Wolfe.
Participating brands also identified some of the key attributes they looked for in social media influencers. Topping the list at 39 percent was that the influencer must be a popular person in the community and have a large following and appealing content.
But the biggest challenge identified by brands was ‘finding relevant influencers’ that topped the list at 55 percent. This was followed by ‘negotiating terms and condition’ at 41 percent, and ‘communicating during an assignment’ at 39 percent.
The survey also revealed that a majority of influencers expect to be compensated based on the number of deliverables (posts, images, videos, etc.), rather than the success of a campaign through actual and measurable results (driving up sales, website visits, etc.). Only six percent of marketeers said that they compensated influencers based on such results or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
Budgets for social media marketing are also growing, with 43 percent of brands indicating that they had spent anywhere from between USD 1000-10,000 per social media influencer campaign in the UAE. But many will invest more and 34 percent indicated that they would spend anywhere between USD 10,000 and USD 50,000 on a single social media influencer campaign. The majority of marketers, 63 percent, said that they believe the fees requested by social media influencers are reasonable.
Openness and transparency are also emerging trends as 63 percent of brands say they occasionally request social media influencers to publish a disclaimer or reveal that their content is sponsored. However 24 percent never require it and 12 percent find it necessary to add a disclaimer through a statement or the use of hashtags such as #Ad or #sponsored.
“The results of our second survey have reinforced the results of our 2016 survey and further demonstrate the enormous impact that social media influencers have on marketing strategies and budgets in the UAE,” added Mr Oraibi.