The growing power of social media influencers and bloggers has been borne out by new research from Dubai-based PR agency BPG Cohn & Wolfe that shows that 71% of UAE residents aged 18-40 are happy to take advice online before purchasing.
Beauty, fashion and food are the areas where residents are most likely to turn to leading social media influencers for recommendations say the results of the research undertaken for the agency by YouGov who interviewed 1000 men and women across the country.
Tech-savvy residents used their smartphones to follow their favourite influencers with 68 per cent of those polled admitting that where they eat out can be prompted by online recommendations or reviews and 63 per cent more likely to buy fashion or beauty products based on what these influencers might say.
BPG Cohn & Wolfe PR Director, Consumer Practice, Taghreed Oraibi managed the research process and said: “We are working closer than ever with bloggers and influencers and wanted to find out just how influential they have become in a country that is more switched on and digital than many all over the world.
“The results have clearly shown that companies now have to take these online influencers seriously and listen to what they have to say and find creative and engaging ways to work with them to tell their story and reach customers in that vital 18-40 demographic.
“BPG Cohn & Wolfe has identified the rise in influence of bloggers for some time and this led to commissioning the research to assess just how widespread their influence is and in what areas they have the most impact.”
Social Media Influencer Opinion – Highly Regarded by UAE Residents
The survey shows that smartphones, as may be expected, are the most popular device used by individuals to follow influencers online.
Facebook proved to be the number one platform used to follow social media influencers overall. A total of 35% of individuals said they followed food influencers on Facebook and 26% on YouTube, while fashion and beauty influencers were followed highly on Facebook 32% followed by Instagram 24%.
The extensive use of more visually appealing online mediums is however not unexpected as so many beauty, fashion and food influencers are keen to showcase images of the products they have reviewed, experienced or are personally recommending.
Social Media Influencers Become Increasingly Powerful Brand Ambassadors
There are currently over 200 listed fashion and beauty social media contacts and over 200 food contacts in the UAE who are classified as bloggers on Cision Point media database in the UAE.
But as Taghreed Oraibi explains: “Today Social Media Influencers are not necessarily just bloggers who use ‘Words’ on traditional discussion or information sites. You now find new terms being used in the industry such as ‘Instagrammers, YouTubers, and SnapChatters to define those who use a diverse range of different social media tools to influence consumer decisions through content that is often generated as videos, captioned images or graphics.”
“As communication strategists and adviser, we need to be able to identify social media influencers who share common interests or viewpoints with those of our clients. This will enable us to maximise the impact they have in reaching their target audience and deliver messages in a digital and credible manner.”
Take a look at the infographic below to see who the top influencers are in the UAE.