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    Technology"No one is immune": this psychologist explains what makes us so susceptible to advertising from 'influencers'

    “No one is immune”: this psychologist explains what makes us so susceptible to advertising from ‘influencers’

    For creators and influencerscontinues to be the main source of income: advertising. In exchange for a fee, they feature products and brands on their channels and explain how excited they are about them.

    Anna Bauer is a psychologist and works at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. She has worked in social media marketing herself. She says that advertising has always influenced us. However, thanks to social networks, se is becoming a much bigger part of our lives.

    The problem: “It is not possible to be completely immune to her”Bauer explains to Business Insider. “Because many processes take place unconsciously.”

    This is done, among other things, by the so-called mere exposure effect, which advertising has always exploited. It is the term used in psychology to describe the finding that we positively evaluate the things we see frequently. “We don’t even realize it ourselves,” says Bauer.

    This is how those who help ‘influencers’ work behind the scenes: exhaustive knowledge of the medium, passion and hundreds of hours

    Therefore, when we see that the influencers frequently promote the same product, we automatically believe in the quality of the brand.

    we confuse influencers with friends

    But the effect goes further. Studies have shown that it can be transmitted to people as well, meaning the more often we come into contact with the same people, the more likely we are to become friends with them. “This can also apply to influential people”Bauer explains. Consequently, he says, it is quite normal for us to develop a kind of relationship with influential people, especially if we have followed them for a long time.

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    However, this can also have downsides: The Beauty Impact Report 2022 commissioned by the lifestyle magazine Stylebook concludes that around a third of women feel particularly pressured by the influencers to buy higher quality and therefore often more expensive products.

    25% of women also stated that they had already bought things through influencers that they really couldn’t afford.

    Subconsciously, we think that we will be just as successful if we behave as our models do.

    Psychologist Bauer says that by unconsciously confusing influential people with our friends, we tend to conform to them; for example, by purchasing products that we believe are approved by those around us. “This is how we satisfy our basic need for affiliation”says Bauer.

    Followers also look up to influencers in a certain way and therefore try to imitate them. “Unconsciously, we think that we will be just as successful if we behave like our models,” says Bauer. “But this is a fallacy.”

    Among other things, because much of what the influencers presented on social networks does not correspond to reality. Bauer, who has worked in marketing herself, says: “None of this comes spontaneously”.

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    Social networks are full of communication tricks

    In addition, the influencers They are marketing professionals. “We must not forget that his job is to sell us things”Bauer says. At the same time, the strongest weapon of content creators is that they know how to work with emotions. This is evident not only in their relationship with their followers, but also in the way they describe the products, he says.

    “Words that convey certain emotions are often chosen,” says Bauer. “As a potential customer, I’m supposed to believe that I can feel such and such when buying this product.”

    The influencers they also use various tactics to make their advertising less obvious. This is to flag a problem to the community, initially without reference to the advertised product. For example: “I’m going to an event tonight and I still don’t know what to wear.” “Later throughout the day, the fix comes,” says Bauer. Along with the final outfit, a bag stands out, for example. “The ‘ad’ innuendo gets lost in the story quite easily,” says Bauer.

    These tricks are not exclusive to influencers on social networks. For some time now, a new form of social media marketing has taken hold on platforms like Tiktok and Instagram: User Generated Content, or UGC for short.

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    The concept behind it: unknown faces present products in short videos and explain why they are convinced. The videos look like customer reviews; and they seem like a recommendation to friends. Actually, it is paid advertising. As a rule, these videos are posted directly by customers and distributed as paid tickets.

    Bauer says that, from a marketing point of view, this type of advertising is “ingenious”, but it also contributes to making social networks increasingly opaque for users. “The boundaries between genuine content and real content and advertising are becoming more blurred”says Bauer. “A lot of people just don’t realize it’s on-demand advertising.”

    Social media marketing started here from a well-known effect of consumption in general: “Consumption is the search for feelings of happiness,” says Bauer. This is because buying new things activates the reward center of the brain. “So we got a little positive momentum for a short period of time.”

    On the Internet there is a greater risk of making impulse purchases or even developing a shopping addiction, says the psychologist. Because buying has become especially easy on the Internet. While shopping in the real world is always associated with obstacles, like waiting in line at the checkout, the next hit of happiness online is always just a few clicks away.


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