Consumers to rely less on influencers, AI in the next 5 years – Study

By Felicia Nwosu

With more and more consumers losing confidence and trust in influencers, today’s marketers need to put more effort in addressing the wave of skepticism sweeping through the landscape.

A Reddit study has revealed that, as influencers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms appear to steer millions of purchase decisions daily, trust in the authenticity of their recommendations continues to erode.

With a deeper concern, the study indicated that twice as many U.S. Gen Z social-media users, ages 18 to 26, will rely less on influencers in the coming five years.

Elaborating further on the new findings, Rob Gaige, Reddit head of global insights, said more than half of social-media users believe bots are likely making fake product reviews on Amazon and other sites. He added that as a result of this, online communities are changing that trust factor.

“One in four posts on Reddit are recommendations. We’ve been dominated by search algorithms and influencers for the past five to 10 years, but consumers have started to lose trust in those channels. They understand there are competing incentives at play. Competing incentives like recommendations and summarizes driven by artificial intelligence (AI), as well as fake sponsored listings and reviews.

“About 40% of social media users said they first heard about products and services they purchased through a search engine, a social media influencer, or Amazon, but now they think these resources and the technology driving them are unsafe, impersonal, and untrustworthy,” he said.

He explained that consumers are ready to speak with brands directly, and they can do that in Reddit forums. It provides an opportunity for brands to invite early adopters to test products. Some 74% of people say that Reddit is where they go to challenge their thinking and views.

Some 90% of people say that they are “open to new ideas and 79% of people said they have interest in seeing brands share information about their products on Reddit.


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