An overwhelming majority of social media users in UAE and Saudi Arabia are disgruntled with the vast promotional content posted by influencers, according to the latest research carried out by BPG Group and YouGov, the local media outlet Khaleej Times reports. They surveyed 1000 residents aged 18 to 35-years-old from these Middle East countries and found out that nearly 80% of them unfollowed influencer accounts this year.
Notably, 73% of the respondents can tell for sure if a post is promotional, and 59% are less inclined to trust a review if an influencer has been paid for it.
Meanwhile, retention is a critical success factor in a competitive social media market. It means that influencers have to adhere to high-quality standards and publish content that fits the interests of their subscribers. Otherwise, they will watch there followers base diminishing rapidly.
“Social media is a conversation channel, and as long as an influencer doesn’t overwhelm the followers with continuous promotional and brand updates, it shouldn’t be a problem. I feel influencers should focus more on engaging content to increase the brands reach organically,” Farida Israil, travel, lifestyle, and health influencer comments. Farida has over 23,500 followers on her Instagram account.
Many regional influencers recognize the trend and take steps to improve their readers’ experience. Thus, Hena Khan, a UAE influencer that runs the UAE Mums group on Facebook. She blocked advertisements on her page to keep her 17,000 subscribers happy.
“Too many ads spam the group just like when we are watching our favorite television shows, and we hate the many ads in between, so we make sure that members experience is not hindered by spams and unwanted adverts,” she said.
Khan tries to be honest in her reviews at all times as followers can spot insincerity and feel cheated. This view is shared by a social media user Nargis Bilal, who said that most of the content posted by influencers feels unnatural and scripted.
“I’m sure many are honest, but I wouldn’t necessarily rush down to a restaurant being recommended by an influencer as I’ve found that it doesn’t really live up to expectations or to how it was being promoted,” she confessed.
This trend is partially the reason why brands and companies turn away from influencer marketing and seek more efficient strategies.