The rise of influencers as a byproduct of social media brought in a new wave of PR tactics – PR packages, sponsorships and collabs with influencers were all new opportunities for companies to gain brand awareness with a wider audience.
Influencers reportedly sold $3.6 billion of goods in 2022, with the $700 Dyson Airwrap being one of the top products sold. Cut to 2023, and the Airwrap is now considered overhyped and not worth the money. What changed?
A trend referred to as “deinfluencing” has gained significant traction in recent months after first appearing on TikTok. Deinfluencing refers to the act of discussing a product, usually one that has gone viral, and sharing why it’s not worth the purchase. The underlying theme of deinfluencing is stopping overconsumption, an issue for gen Z and gen X in post-pandemic life with the rapid rise of online shopping and TikTok. The trend is especially popular with beauty products, where participating users take to TikTok to give honest reviews on products like Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, Charlotte Tilbury Flawless foundation, and Olaplex No. 4 shampoo. Gaming influencers are now giving opinions on which chairs, microphones, and headsets they don’t recommend. And dermatologists and estheticians are deinfluencing against unnecessary skincare products.
All these products land on the more expensive side and have been popular for years thanks to influencer culture. Influencers, which accounted for 10-20 percent of marketing budgets for 2022, promote these products to their followers, convincing them its worth the purchase. The use of influencers has become so lucrative for brands that 93% of PR experts believe influencer marketing is an essential tool in today’s public relations.
While influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere, people are now limiting the trust they give these influencers. The current economy has people second guessing their spending habits and searching for cheaper options to the products that influencers are promoting. TikToker Alyssa Kromelis made a deinfluencing video that has over 5 million views where she says, “Here are all the things I will deinfluence you from buying as somebody that spends thousands of dollars on health, beauty, hair products, but loves to save a buck.” Kromelis shares dupes to the expensive products that she has personally tried and loves.
While companies may view this new trend negatively, like the ones who make the products mentioned above, it’s a great opportunity for consumer research. A task that usually takes time and lots of money can be done by going to TikTok and searching “#deinfluencing”. By listening to what consumers have to say about certain products, brands can better understand what is expected of their product. They can gain honest feedback and take the opportunity to connect with consumers who may be willing to expand on ways the product could improve.
The goal of deinfluencing is to shine a light on excessive consumption due to influencer marketing, but brands can use this trend to gain valuable insight from their core consumers.