Rise in influencer ad complaints reveals report

105 | Sector set to top $21 billion

Issue #105 | Your reading time this week is 4 mins. 45 secs.

The global influencer marketing sector is forecast to top $21 billion this year. This is a significant uptick on the $17.4 billion valuation Statista forecast last August. Meanwhile, the UK ad regulator published its annual report this week revealing an 11% rise in cases against influencer marketing ads. Sticking with regulation - a European-wide paper charting the patchwork of influencer-related rules and regs has just been published.

Influencer marketing to top $21 billion this year

The global influencer marketing market is estimated at a record $21.1 billion for 2023 according to Statista. The research firm updated its forecast this week whilst reporting that market size has more than doubled since 2019. The revised sector size in significant. In August last year, Statista forecast that influencer marketing would only be worth $17.4 billion in 2023.

ASA annual report shows uptick in influencer marketing complaints

This week the Advertising Standards Authority published its 2022 annual report. It’s disappointing news for the influencer marketing sector.

👎 5,318 complaints against influencer marketing ads (an increase of 9% on last year).

👎4,044 cases against influencer marketing ads - up 11% on 2021 figures and accounting for ¼ of all online cases.

A rise in the number of cases against influencer marketing advertisements is obviously disappointing. But the figures should be viewed alongside the colossal growth rates enjoyed by influencer marketing. The volume of influencer-generated content has far more than doubled since 2019. Proportionately, therefore, the ratio of cases to creator output is declining. But this is to miss the point. Our industry must do more to maintain consumer trust in our sector.

DIVE DEEPER: The Influencer Marketing Trade Body is undertaking a raft of initiatives with the ASA & CAP to increase compliance with influencer ad rules.

Influence is King

This newsletter is supported by Fourth Floor – a digital marketing agency that fully understands the power of influence. Fourth Floor is an insight-led creative, social and influencer agency that enables games businesses to engage audiences, build emotional connections and get results. They build bespoke campaigns by combining any number of their services, which include advocacy, production, commerce and events. Find out how they can help your business at fourthfloor.co 

Influencer marketing regulations across Europe

Kolsquare, the France-based influencer marketing platform (or KOL Marketing platform - as in Key Opinion Leader) has just published a round-up of Europe’s influencer marketing regulatory landscape. Key takeaways include:

  • In most European countries, influencer marketing is regulated under existing advertising and consumer protection laws, with disputes resolved by the self-regulatory system.

  • In the EU, there is a consensus that commercial influencer content should be labelled clearly and immediately, although the correct form of labelling differs from country to country.

  • The new EU Digital Services Act (DSA) will impose greater responsibility on influencers to ensure that content is not illegal, misleading or inappropriate.

DECLARATION: Kolsquare asked me to contribute to this detailed piece of work. I was delighted to accept.

Lululemon combats dupes with mass give-away

We’ve talked before about ‘Dupes’ - the TikTok trend named after duplicates, the Gen Z abbreviation for knock-off versions of more expensive items.

Lululemon is one of the most duped brands on TikTok. To combat the trend the fitness brand famed for its yoga pants launched a dupe swap in LA, giving customers branded Align leggings for free in return for dupes. The stunt was aimed to prove the value of the real thing and to reinforce the firm’s cultural relevance. Some dupe swappers waited in line for over four hours to get their hands on the Align legging which retail at $98.

“We really do know our products are the best; and if you try them, we felt folks would have that sensory aha moment.”

-- Lululemon chief brand officer Nikki Neuburger

Lululemon dupe swap results: 50% of swappers were new customers. Half were under the age of 30 (target audience). Traditional and social media coverage far exceeded the brand’s expectations.

Industry survey: staffing and benefits market

SUMO London and the Influencer Marketing Trade Body have teamed up to create a comprehensive influencer marketing sector staffing and benefits market survey.

Responses to the survey will help our industry better understand:

👍Salary expectations

👍Most offered employee benefits

👍Benefits most important to employees

👍Industry training and education needs

The survey is completely anonymous and takes under 5 minutes to complete.

⅔ of US adults would quit job to become an influencer

Passport-photo.online conducted an online survey of 812 Americans in January 2023 asking them about the creator economy.

  • 77% consider social media influencing a real profession.

  • 63% claim they’d quit their day jobs tomorrow if they knew they’d make it as influencers in the next 6–12 months.

  • Over 90% of internet users follow at least one social media influencer.

Other findings from the report released this week show that in terms of key motivators for becoming an influencer, money topped the list (25%), followed by self-expression (20%), and then following one’s passion (20%). Creativity (35%) was voted the most vital trait to succeed.

Culture of lawlessness: Ex-ByteDance exec damns firm

A former ByteDance US employee who worked for the Chinese-owned company between 2017 and 2018 has claimed the firm boosted engagement figures by using bots, copied videos from rival apps, Instagram and Snapchat, and posted them to TikTok’s fledging app and housed a special unit of Chinese Communist Party members which monitored the company’s apps, and “guided how the company advanced core Communist values” according to the New York Times. Yintao Yu, who was the head of engineering for ByteDance’s US has sued ByteDance, which owns TikTok, for wrongful termination.

Has TikTok pressed pause on US shopping platform launch?

A lukewarm uptake of live-streaming e-commerce by US merchants has slowed plans for a rollout of TikTok’s shopping platform says the Wall Street Journal. The paper suggested that TikTok’s potential ban in the US had caused sellers to pause setting up shop on the App. Not so TikTok tells the Business of Fashion:

“The launch of TikTok Shop in the US has not been delayed. We’re committed to our strategy of testing and learning, and we’re excited to continue expanding our test in the US by inviting more merchants to join us as interest in Shop continues to grow.”

a TikTok spokesperson told BoF


Headcount at UK’s Digital Market Unit expands

Want to know more about how an organisation sees its future? Check out the job spec for the roles it’s recruiting for. A few weeks ago in this newsletter, we reported that The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is gearing up to take on more power to tackle big tech via its Digital Markets Unit. This week the government body announced it’s recruiting for a range of roles to “prepare for the new regime”.

In all the CMA is looking to beef-up its DMU by taking on 20 new positions ranging from Principle Digital Markets Advisers down to Programme Support Officers.

🤷Cat-astrophic -- TikTok creator Nasrin Corfield Smith recently flew to Turkey to have ‘cats-eye surgery

🤷 Crash landing -- A US YouTuber has struck a plea bargain after admitting he videoed himself deliberately crashing an aeroplane as part of a product sponsorship deal. The influencer, Trevor Jacob now faces 20 years in prison.

🤷 Robo-love -- A Snapchat influencer has launched an AI-powered 'virtual girlfriend'. Watch this space - this story is frothy but it is the start of things to come. “The next wave of avatar influencers will be unshackled by pre-scripted animation paths. This means they will be able to operate at scale without being reliant on human intervention. They will learn from each human interaction to become more useful in the next human interaction”. Routledge (published, November 2020).

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