Content360 2023
Will deinfluencing be the trend to kill influencer marketing?

Will deinfluencing be the trend to kill influencer marketing?

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Scroll through social media and you will see influencers and brands promoting and selling products to you left and right. From the latest makeup products that will reportedly “change your life” to that new and trendy phone case you just must have.

However, the tables are turning and perhaps, our consumerist culture might be seeing a change in tides with the rise of a new trend: deinfluencing.

So, what exactly is deinfluencing? Deinfluencing is a new trend in which creators discourage users from indulging in a consumerist lifestyle, and from buying everything that is marketed to them on social media.

The idea behind the concept is that while it is acceptable to buy things we really need or want, we should not feel compelled towards a life of overconsumption simply because of influencer marketing.

The idea rose to popularity in recent times when beauty influencer Mikayla Noguiera posted a review of a L’Oreal mascara on TikTok. In the video, Noguiera praised the mascara for making her lashes look like she had on false lashes. Netizens however were convinced that she had on actual false lashes and many came out to say that they felt cheated despite the fact that Noguiera made it clear that the video was sponsored and that she was not wearing false lashes. 

The video sparked many content creators to come out in her defense, openly admitting the need to use grandiose language and tactics to sell a product online. This caused many creators to also begin speaking out against a culture of consumerism and to push 'deinfluencing'.

In the month of January and early February 2023, the term ‘deinfluencing’ saw a 2228% increase in mentions, as compared to the same period 30 days prior, according to social listening company Meltwater.

Don't miss: 3 key trends in influencer marketing for 2023

According to CARMA, the term is increasingly being used as a hashtag or a genre of content, especially on TikTok where it has amassed millions of views. Moreover, content creators are being more vocal of brands they don’t like to ‘deinfluence’ their followers against them. CARMA added that other commonly associated hashtags include ‘deinfluencer’ and ‘antihaul’.

Mentions of deinfluencing are also highest among the Millennial group (25-34), and second-highest among Gen Z’s (18-24).

“Something to think about, is whether this is a signal that the era of influencers has peaked and we’re moving on,” added the spokesperson from CARMA.

Why are more people turning towards ‘deinfluencing’ as a trend?

Industry experts MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to agree that a worsening economy could largely be to blame for the move away from influencer marketing, adding fuel to the fire of the new trend.

“I think the community as a whole has gotten tired of caving in and spending tons of money on products that they have realised aren’t what they’ve been hyped up to be, more so at the hands of their once ‘trusted sources’ aka influencers,” explained Kimberley Olsen, the director of Yatta Workshop, a creative digital agency that specialises in social media management.

She added that consumers have been questioning the authenticity of influencers for a long time now, which also gave rise to many brands turning to ‘micro influencers’.

“Micro-influencers, typically might have a smaller network of followers, but more personal relationships with their followers as opposed to larger follower-based influencers who simply post and don’t interact with any followers,” she continued.

Agreeing with Olsen, Yuhwen Foong, the founder of Sushivid, an influencer marketing company said with an “oversupply of sponsored content”, influencers are spoiling the game by choosing to endorse every single brand. This has led to a dilution of content where their content now becomes more about sponsorship than actually helping or reviewing for their followers, explained Foong.

Comparing it to the likes of Google ads, Foong said influencer marketing too started out affordable and effective until everyone jumped on the bandwagon leading to a heftier price tag.

“Eventually, we will weed out all the over-sponsored influencers and the market will rebalance itself and we'll have a good few months before an over-supply happens again. It's going to always be a balancing game.”

Currently, according to Deloitte Digital’s study published in 2022, it was reported that for every US$1 spend by brands, traditional digital advertising sees a US$2.63 return, while influencer marketing sees almost double that at a US$5.20 return.

Will the deinfluencing trend impact influencer marketing?

While the deinfluencing trend may cause consumers to question an influencer more when they see a sponsored post, industry players are confident that influencer marketing will continue to play a huge role in marketing in the years to come.

“Legitimate influencers will always be crucial to a brand’s sale or a product’s positive word-of-mouth,” said Althea Lim, co-founder and group CEO of Gushcloud International, an influencer marketing agency.

“Now that deinfluencing is such a popular concept online which isn’t likely to go away, it’s a good reminder for content creators to always reconsider where and how consumers shop and who they listen to for recommendations,” added Lim.

She added that going forward, it is now more important than ever for brands to be creative and transparent and that they regularly do reviews of their influencer rosters.

“It’s not enough to make noise and get attention online to sell something,” said Lim. Brands need to acknowledge that consumers already know how to reclaim their purchasing power with deinfluencing.

“If they don’t tell authentic stories through their influencers and they don’t listen to feedback, it could affect their business negatively,” Lim said.

Adding on Olsen shared that moving forward brands will definitely want to have more say in how their products are represented. They might also opt for more involvement in the content creation process, with perhaps a lot more transparency and guidelines to avoid any misconceptions and maintain aligned communications across all marketing channels.

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