Consumers who follow influencers online can be divided into six different groups, from “idea seekers” and “silent followers” to “super fans”, according to a study published in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).
The paper, entitled “What drives consumers to engage with influencers? Segmenting consumer response to influencers: Insights for managing social-media relationships”, was written by Justine Rapp Farrell (University of San Diego), Colin Campbell (University of San Diego) and Sean Sands (Swinburne University of Technology).
Why it matters
Influencer marketing is an increasingly popular strategy, but it is vital to understand the needs of different audiences when activating these campaigns. Consumers follow, and engage with, influencers for varied reasons, and will thus be looking for specific types of information and experiences from these relationships.
The six audience groups
Based on an online survey of 938 consumers in the US, the analysis identified the following audiences for influencer content:
Idea seekers (32%): This group looks to influencers “primarily for entertainment … and inspiration”. Instagram and YouTube are their preferred platforms, and they follow a mean of 4.1 influencers each.
Silent followers (20%): A desire for entertainment is the most common connection point for this group with influencers. They only follow a small number – a mean of 1.3 – of these digital mavens. Seventy-nine percent have not spent money based on influencer recommendations.
Entertainment-driven inspiration seeker (17%): Ninety-one percent of this cohort have made purchases based on influencer suggestions. They follow a mean of 16.8 influencers, often to seek out entertainment, inspiration and deals.
Spontaneous entertainment-driven (13%): While these consumers follow 17 influencers on average, their engagement and content viewing is relatively modest.
Influencer unengaged (11%): These consumers, on average, are fans of just 1.1 influencers, and “underindex on every motivation” to follow these online figures.
Super Fan (7%): At the other end of the spectrum, members of this cohort follow an average of 141.9 influencers apiece. They made up the youngest segment in the study.