Rise of social media influencer

Social media influencers taking a sizeable bite of ad revenues on products and services


Newspapers and television stations’ advertisement revenues are on a tailspin. But it is not just the Google ads, blogs, YouTube and the various other digital platforms that are slaughtering traditional media.

Social media influencers are taking a sizeable bite at the cherry as advertisers shift to selected icons to become the voice and face for their products and services.

These social media influencers have been promoting everything from food, health and beauty to lifestyle, fashion and parenting.

It was estimated that the number of social network users in Malaysia was 18.6 million and the figure is expected to rise to 20.42 million by 2022, according to Statista website.

Facebook, the most popular social media platform, had about 11.9 million users in Malaysia at the end of 2017, or one in every three people had a Facebook account. It was also estimated there were 9.2 million Instagram users in Malaysia as at end of April last year.

Social influencers who have millions of followers, are banking on their popularity and talent to promote companies products and build brand loyalty.

StarNgage chief community officer Terrence Ngu said the influencer market size has been growing and it is valued between RM280.46 million and RM560.91 million in the country.

“In terms of return on investment, we estimate about four to six times (on social influencers). Take e-commerce for example, if you spend RM80,100 on influencer marketing campaign, it will bring a revenue of RM400,500,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Ngu said the shift to social media influencers has been adopted by Fortune 500 companies despite their deep pocket to spend on hard marketing like billboards and commercials.

“The Fortune 500 companies like Nike Inc, The Coca-Cola Co, Google LLC, Microsoft Corp, PayPal Holdings Inc and local firms like Maxis Bhd, Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd, AirAsia Bhd are spending their advertising budget on bloggers and influencers,” he said.

He said the money that was initially put into marketing campaigns, has now shifted to funding influencers where brands leverage on the associations and follower counts.

Trollbeads A/S Malaysia country manager Noreen Norman said the handmade bead bracelet company has engaged 10 local bloggers and influencers to drive its product campaign.

“We chose influencer marketing so that they can experience our products and share their experience with their followers,” she said.

“Some brands are probably using hard advertisement to introduce their brands. We do not deny the power of hard advertisement, just that we choose to leverage on influencers in Malaysia,” she added.

Blogger Nur Liyana, at www. absoluteyana.com, said influencer marketing is taking the advertisement space by storm.

“I do feel that influencer marketing is stronger. This is because no one likes things to be rubbed on their face directly by commercials and hard advertising. They prefer having others to show and tell their experience,” she said.

As a blogger who reviews beauty products and posts makeup tutorials, gets paid either through sponsorships and paid jobs.

Getting the services of social media influencers are getting to be expensive and these Internet icons are charging thousands for their services.

Ngu said influencers under StarNgage’s receive annual salary that totals up to at least RM39,400 each.

“Our estimate is that an influencer’s average income — which includes all types of product sponsorship, cash rewards, vouchers and such — ranges between RM39,400 to RM78,700 per year,” he said.

But, not all influencers are “advertisers friendly” in promoting a specific products. Liyana said that certain brands had rejected her due to her honest comments.

“When I do a write-up on sponsored items, I share the products’ negative points too. Brands which are afraid of minor remarks tend to stay away from honest influencers. Other brands appreciate the honesty.

“But for me, I prefer brands that knows their flaws and try to improve their products,” she said.