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Follow me- the impact of social influencers on brands

Follow me: the impact of social influencers on brands

Hannah Walley

Senior Client Director, Media & Digital

Kantar Millward Brown


In a world where an individual can have more than 131 million followers on Instagram (Selena Gomez currently tops the list), it is understandable that brands are attracted to celebrities or influencers as a way of reaching consumers. And the research backs it up; our AdReaction study in 2017 showed that Gen Z are significantly more receptive than other generations to content featuring celebrities and social media stars, and shows ads with a celebrity presence result in a 16 percent greater impact on brand awareness than those without.

However, brands should tread carefully. Partnering with social influencers who have built fame quickly but have no formal marketing or PR training can be risky. Brands have little or no control over what these influential people post in their own time, and this can have negative consequences. There also needs to be a good fit between brand and celebrity endorser. Without this, advertising may appear contrived. Imagine if Joe Wicks, the famous body coach, advertised McDonalds …

Using a celebrity that has relevance and likeability among the target audience can build trust and authenticity – both important for long-term brand building. Short-term partnerships will not benefit brands in the longer term. So, while reach is important, getting the right fit is essential.