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The decline of mega-influencers among Gen Z

Towards a new era in influencer marketing

The decline of mega-influencers among Gen Z Towards a new era in influencer marketing

"Influencer fatigue", an increasingly palpable phenomenon, marks a new era on social media. This term describes the saturation of users by the overabundance of advertisements and product recommendations from major influencers. These content creators, who often have millions of followers, bombard their communities with sponsored posts for various brands. This saturation has led to deep disillusionment and growing distrust towards them. A perfect example illustrating this trend is the "Mascara Gate", involving Mikayla Nogueira, a beauty influencer accused of using fake lashes in a sponsored video for a L’Oréal mascara. This incident sparked a wave of criticism and heightened consumer skepticism towards such content. Recently, the platform YPulse, specializing in studying young consumer behavior, especially Gen Z and Millennials, released a series of data decoding this phenomenon. So, are young consumers really tired of influencers?

@z00mie Thoughts?? These beauty influencers ALWAYS bounce back. James Charles has been the center of 1000 scandals and he’s doing JUST fine. I think this is all marketing and its WORKING #mikaylafalsies #mikaylanogueira #falselashes original sound - zoomie

The fatigue towards mega-influencers is hardly surprising. Long at the top of the influence ladder on social media, personalities such as Kylie Jenner, Cristiano Ronaldo, and PewDiePie have dominated platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, attracting millions of views and generating enormous revenue through their collaborations. This advertising saturation in the form of product placements, unboxings, recommendations, and so on, has created a real aversion to overly commercial and insincere content. The numbers speak for themselves: YPulse revealed that 61% of young people aged 13 to 39 lose trust in an influencer who posts too many ads. A key trend emerging from this distrust is the growing value placed on recommendations from friends and private circles. Indeed, 78% of young consumers now give more importance to the personal opinions of their peers than to sponsored recommendations.

@refinery29au In the spirit of money transparency, we asked Aussie content creators to spill the tea on their top-paying brand collabs #R29AU #influencers #influencerspay #influencer #contentcreator #influencerspaycheck #AFW #AAFW #costofliving #money #moneycontent #moneyquestions original sound - Refinery29 Australia

For brands, this "influencer fatigue” represents a significant challenge because there was a time when collaborating with mega-influencers was the strategy of choice to maximize product visibility. In the survey conducted by YPulse, 65% of respondents admitted preferring recommendations from content creators with a smaller following. This has become increasingly evident recently through the new marketing strategies of some brands like Glossier or Aerie, which, for example, choose to collaborate with micro-influencers and nano-influencers. These creators, though less followed, maintain closer and more authentic relationships with their communities, allowing brands to uphold their image and remain credible. This shift reflects a growing desire for transparency and sincerity. A phenomenon perfectly illustrated by the "de-influencing" movement on TikTok, where creators share honest, even critical, reviews of products. These frank reviews are perceived as more reliable and less biased, encouraging consumers to make more informed and thoughtful choices.

@leahraquel12 save ur coin #makeuprecs #deinfluencing original sound - Leah Raquel

Times are changing, and with them, the way we perceive influence. According to YPulse, 44% of those aged 13-39 believe that influencers no longer have as much power as before, highlighting a significant transition in the influencer marketing landscape. The rise of “influencer fatigue,” especially among young consumers, is a clear sign that traditional strategies are no longer as effective. To remain relevant, brands must adapt by emphasizing authenticity and forging partnerships with smaller creators who have significant influence over specific target audience segments. This shift is essential to meet the expectations of a generation that values transparency and sincerity, thus ensuring their trust and loyalty in the long term.