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Sortlist Insights

Influencer Survey 2022: 1 Out of 5 Users Trusts Influencers More Than Their Specialists

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Tl;dr: Our survey shows that most users report a positive experience after following influencer advice. Still, not many seem willing to switch from traditional experts.

Sortlist surveyed 1,000 users who followed health and nutrition influencers on social media, and users who follow finance and wealth influencers. The goal was to understand the power of influencers on people’s decisions and where this leaves specialists. Do you trust your influencer more than your banker or your doctor? Here’s what we found:

  • 1 out of every 5 users trusts influencers more than their doctors and financial advisors.
  • 46% of respondents said that influencers helped them in their financial investments; however, 37% think specialists are more transparent.
  • 68% of people following finance influencers research the information they provide, as do 50% of the people following health influencers.
  • Cost and the difficulty to get an appointment are the two main blockers that users face when deciding to contact their health or wealth specialists.
  • In both industries, transparency is the key trait that sets specialists apart from influencers.
  • Despite the influence they have, influencers are still ranked last when users were asked who they would trust more. Specialists ranked first.

Where do people get their information from? Will social media become the new Google?

Most people polled find that both Google and specialists are the easiest sources for health and financial information, way before influencers appear in the map.

The oldest generation surveyed (45-54 years old) consider their personal trainer and wealth advisor their easiest source of information.

However, social media vastly outnumbers the other channels as the main source of information (according to our data more than 30% of all users). In finance, the majority of older users (33%) still view their banker or wealth specialist as the main source.

Data has spoken: Offline media is the last resource people turn to

Something interesting happens among users who follow health influencers: none of the younger users go to offline media (such as magazines and newspapers) for health information. But the survey also found that neither do the older users; they are more likely to find information from friends or other online media (6.67% each) before going offline.

Interestingly, adults that are 35-44 years old are the group least likely to follow finance influencers compared to the other groups.

After doing some marketing research, we found that, in finance, every single market surveyed agreed that the investment type they follow influencers for is crypto stocks (29.06%).

In health, the type of content they follow influencers for is a combination of inspiration and ideas (27.12%) and information (25.47%).

What social media channels are people relying on?

Of these social channels, Youtube and Instagram appear at the very top for both sectors, highlighting the demand for visual content.

The two exceptions to this pattern are evident in Belgium, where the top social media channels for health are Youtube and Twitter, and the Netherlands, where it’s Youtube and Facebook. The only difference for finance also lies in Belgium, which adds a third option: specialized forums.

the power of influencers health social media per country


the power of influencers finance social media per country
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What makes people trust social media influencers?

When developing this study, it became important for us to understand how people choose the influencers they follow.

The rise of influencer marketing has contributed greatly to positioning them as industry leaders, leading to 1 out of 5 people trusting them more than they would their health and financial specialists (more on the power of influencers later).


tony jazz the power of influencers

I approach transparency by talking about my daily life, showing figures, problems I encounter… in short, real life. I don’t say things like: ‘it’s easy to make money, I never have a problem.’

Tony Jazz, Investor, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Consultant


Across markets, credibility reins as the single most decisive factor when choosing influencers in health and finance.

However, in health, the number of followers is more important than content, opposite to what we see in finance, where a bigger emphasis is placed on content and referrals.

Background information

It’s important to see who’s talkin’. At least, that’s what 68% of people following finance influencers think, as do 50% of the people following health influencers. They claim to research the background information of influencers, as well as the information they provide.

Not all of them, though: in health, the adults that are 35-44 years old mostly agreed to research the background information “sometimes” (65%), while in finance, that same age group was the least likely to do so (56%).

Impact of influencer marketing on users

Furthermore, when we asked people whether an influencer had ever “influenced” them to buy a product or invest in a specific asset, the answers were overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the power of influencers.

Once again, 35-44 year-olds turned the other cheek; they are the group least influenced to buy a product for health, while the older users (45-54 years old) were the most influenced to do so.

Furthermore, 57.5% of those aged between 35 and 44 years confirmed they used certain products that health influencers promoted, but didn’t adopt the lifestyle fully.

The Netherlands is the only exceptional market; the two sides are divided equally whether a purchase was made thanks to an influencer.

Additionally, 46.51% of respondents claimed that financial influencers’ help had a positive impact on investment decisions. Only in France did most respondents say that their help was most impactful for their “mental mindset” (52.63%).

In health, the power of influencers makes the results much more varied. Two markets say that health influencers were most helpful in allowing them to find “a new lifestyle” that suited their needs: Belgium (55.56%) and France (45.83%).

The other three markets, instead, claim that they’ve used certain products/techniques that those influencers promoted, but didn’t adopt the lifestyle fully. These markets are Germany (48.94%), Spain (45.76%), and the Netherlands (40%).


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Loss of trust – Is trust even relevant?

There are several reasons why someone decides to stop following an influencer that he or she once looked up to. But according to our research, three main reasons are prevalent across the countries we surveyed:

From a brand perspective, however, influencers are not losing out. A health insurance company we interviewed described now important influencer marketing to them.

“Influencers are necessary for accessibility, which is not as high via the ‘normal’ channels. In addition, the credibility of influencers is much higher. When an influencer tells his community ‘this is the best health insurance company,’ they believe it. So yes, people actually trust the influencers there.”

Where’s the gap between influencers and specialists?

Thus far, we’ve seen just how much power influencers in both health and finance have over their followers, and the value they provide. Does this spell an end for specialists?

According to our data… hardly. Choosing a specialist over an influencer, or vice versa, has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.

The trust of a specialist

Three main factors stop users from choosing an influencer over a specialist. As we can see below, they relate to trustworthiness and personalized service, both in the health industry and in finance.

Additionally, transparency is another key trait that sets specialists in both industries apart from influencers. In health, personalized support from specialists is seen as more valuable (32.8%) than in finance (23.2%).

Similarly, there are things that people simply wouldn’t trust an influencer with.

In finance, these can be issues related to knowing which assets to buy (27.65%) and what platforms to use (21.23%).

In health, they relate to information about health conditions or symptoms (47.68%) and which products to use (31.89%), despite users saying earlier that the main reason they followed these influencers was for inspiration and information.

The power of influencers

tony jazz the power of influencers

It’s proximity that wins over competence! That’s why we trust influencers more. You trust a friend of yours more easily than a stranger. And influencers create friendly relationships with their community.”

Tony Jazz, Investor, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Consultant


Still, trustworthiness and personalized support aren’t enough to make people flock toward specialists.

In particular, cost (51.8%) and ease of access, or the difficulty to get an appointment (25.75%), stand as the two main blockers that users face when deciding to contact their health specialist.

In finance, the pattern is quite similar, with 49.12% of polled users across markets saying their financial specialists are “expensive” and 22.06% saying the ease of access is a blocker when deciding to contact them.

Once again, Belgium and the Netherlands stand out as exceptions to this trend in finance. Both countries agree on specialists being expensive, but also think that the fact of not knowing which specialist to choose is a major blocker.

Parodic influencer account Objectif Quadrillionaire has a different opinion:

objectif quadrillionnaire the power of influencers

I think some people trust influencers more than specialists because the influencer will tell you the story you want to hear: money is accessible and easy.

Objectif Quadrillionnaire, Parodic Entrepreneurship Account

Who do people trust more?

This is the bottom line of our report: do people prefer health influencers over their doctors, nutritionists, and personal trainers? Is the power of influencers enough to win users over their advisors, bankers, and accountants?

Despite listening to these influencers’ tips, buying their recommended products, taking investing advice directly from them, and overall making important decisions towards health and wealth, users threw influencers under the bus: when asked who they would trust more, the majority ranked specialists first and influencers last.

Only 1 out of 5 users trust health and finance influencers more than they do the specialists in those areas. Still, this figure is an important one, as it indicates that a trend could be on the rise as the world delves deeper into the digital ecosystem.

The results are impressive, especially when considering that, at least for users following finance influencers, only 11.76% of the youngest group (18-24 years old) surveyed would trust them more than a specialist.

The last word belongs to…

Do influencers have what it takes to replace specialists? The data doesn’t seem to agree, as most users acknowledge their credibility but would still choose to consult their dedicated health or financial advisor.

Overall, the impact of influencers is reflected through the power of social media; it makes them the ideal source for inspiration, igniting the first desire to make a lifestyle change or develop a routine. However, when more details are needed or when the first action is ready to be made, people will often turn to specialists, even despite blockers such as cost and appointment difficulties.

Which leads us to believe that, for all its benefits and opportunities, the influencer trend for health and finance is still, seemingly, unable to influence its way into users’ minds.

Methodology

The study was conducted between June 1st and June 8th, 2022, among 1,000 users across Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. In the study, we surveyed users who followed health and nutrition influencers, as well as finance and wealth influencers, in order to determine their preferences when it comes to trust, reliability, and action regarding influencer advice. The responses are anonymous.

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