How Influencers Drive Teenager Purchases

How Influencers Drive Teenager Purchases

Shot of a influencer recording a makeup tutorial for her blog at homegetty

Article was updated at 3:30 pm 6/5/2023

Influencers have emerged as a strong factor motivating teenagers to buy some merchandise. They describe merchandise on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Tik-Tok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest and their stories drive purchase decisions. I spoke to Maura Smith, Senior Vice-President of marketing at Partnerize, who clarified how influencers work.

First, one must define influencers. There are four types of influencers defined by the size of their audience base.

1. Nano influencers. They have 1,000 to10,000 followers.

2. Micro influencers. They have 10,000 to 100,000 followers.
3. Macro influencers. They have 100,000 to 1 million followers.
4. Mega or Celebrity influencers. They have 1 million or more followers.
Influencers are paid by brands according to the number of followers they have. Obviously, an influencer who is followed by a million young people has more “selling power” and is paid directly for that broad reach that can support of a product. While nano and micro influencers have selling power, they are often paid only after shoppers have mentioned their name that have to inevitably work harder because of their small audience size. Affiliate marketing can be monetization source for yjese creators who are looking to establish relationships with brands because is is safe for both parties – that is, there is only a commission paid upon conversion or sale referred by the influencer.

Social media platforms provide the best means of communicating with young customers, the Gen-Z generation. Social media refers to a variety of virtual communications and networks (some mentioned above in my paragraph one). These platforms provide a means of interaction among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas. Facebook is number one with 2.96 billion viewers.

Investopedia published a study of social media platforms and the user base of each of them as of January 2023. Here are their figures:
1. Facebook (2.96 billion users)

2. You Tube (2.51 billion users)
3. WhatsApp (2 billion users)
4. Instagram (2 billion users)
5. WeChat (1.31 billion users)
6. Tik Tok (1.05 billion users)
7. Facebook Messenger (931 million users)
8. Douyin (715 million users)
9. Telegram (700 million users)
10.Snapchat (645 million users)
A survey by Inside Intelligence found that 72% of respondents 18-to-29-years old follow influencers, and 61% purchased something after influencers presented it. The survey showed a marked drop-off in the 30-49 age range for following influencers; 44% responded and 33% purchased. It drops off further in the 50-to-64 age bracket where there were only 26% of respondents following influencers and 24% purchased. Not surprisingly, those hat are 65+ show even lower engagement rates; 12% respondent and 20% purchased. One can see the sharp drop-off from the Gen-Z generation to more mature shoppers.
Mrs. Smith points out that influencers generated about $6 billion in sales in 2023 and sees it as a significant opportunity for marketers. With more than 78% of marketers using influencer marketing this year, all signs, she says, are positive for a broader influencer and creator economy going forward.
However, influencer marketing is not all rainbows and sunshine. Brands and marketers must ensure that they have a thoughtful, multi-dimensional influencer strategy to account for generational preferences. Other challenges center around inauthenticity within content and user engagement. Authenticity is the single most important value for GenZ. Influencers are beginning to take matters into their own hands with a trend called “de-fluencing” – which prioritizes honesty and authenticity in product reviews. The goal is to avoid misleading content and ensure social media is viewed as trustworthy.
POSTSCRIPT: It is obvious that the biggest and more profitable target market when it comes to leveraging influencer content on social media is Gen-Z, the 18-to-29-year-old group. They seem to be receptive to anything that makes living easier and more fun. They frequently are getting married and furnishing their first home, making them good customer prospects for many products and services. That makes them a very attractive audience for influencer marketing.

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