Gen Z’s Love Affair With TikTok Might Be Due to the Influencer Formula

When TikTok began its dizzying rise to the top of the social media charts, many assumed that it would supplant Facebook, Twitter and other legacy social media platforms at least among the younger crowd. Sure enough, TikTok experienced an unprecedented level of popularity with Gen Z, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, recent data from the Morning Consult seems to suggest that it doesn’t have quite the same pull as far as influencers are concerned.

The Morning Consult recently released a report revealing which social media platforms Gen Z tend to go to in order to get the latest content from their favorite influencers. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that while 35% of Gen Z pointed to TikTok, 32% still go to YouTube because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up giving them better content.

In 2019, very few Gen Zers counted Tiktok as their favorite platform on which to follow social media influencers, but it’s their go-to destination for this activity in 2023, according to our data.

One thing that bears mentioning is that YouTube’s share has plummeted from 47% in 2019, but the dent caused by TikTok is not quite as severe as many had expected. Instagram experienced a much steeper decline, going from 39% in 2019 to just 21% in 2023 with all things having been considered and taken into account.

The recipe for influencer success might be at the root of these seismic shifts occurring in the industry. According to a separate survey that was also conducted by the Morning Consult, 71% of people say that a creator needs to make entertaining content in order for them to be considered an influencer. 70% also stated that they want influencers to inspire them by sharing a wide range of unique ideas.

The shares who say a person needs to do the following in order to be considered an influencer: Make entertaining content: 70%, Share ideas or inspiration: 70%, Share advice: 61%, Promote products, services and/or experiences: 60%, Have a large following: 59%

Advice also appears to be an important thing for people to obtain from the influencers that they follow across a variety of social media platforms. 61% of people that responded to this survey agreed that offering advice made an influencer seem more legitimate in their eyes.

Interestingly enough, promoting products and services wasn’t actually something that diminished an influencer’s credibility to any extent whatsoever. 60% of survey respondents went so far as to say that the promotion of products and experiences is a core element in the influencer formula, indicating that they are getting accustomed to the manner in which the industry functions.

To expand on that, 56% of survey respondents said that influencers should earn money from sponsorships and 55% said that affiliate link earnings should be factored into the equation. This seems to suggest that consumers expect influencers to earn money, otherwise the label may not end up proving all that accurate.

Unsurprisingly, 59% of people that answered questions in this poll also indicated that the presence of a large social media following is critical for the influencer label to be applied. A similar proportion, 59%, mentioned that they would only consider someone to be an influencer if they earn an income from their various online activities.

Another important activity that influencers would do well to take part in would be to share tutorials, with 56% of survey respondents selecting this option. 53% believe that the content that influencers put out needs to have some kind of opinion behind it.

TikTok might be the best place for influencers to meet each of these needs, yet other platforms are also providing them with an opportunity to get ahead. It will be interesting to see which of these platforms end up coming out on top.

Source: Morning Consult Reports

Read next: The Two Apps That Rule Our Screens: TikTok and YouTube
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