Seven questions about influencers, a controversial booming profession


Better regulation of the sector is what the French parliamentarians have spoken about. The senators…

Seven questions about influencers, a controversial booming profession

Seven questions about influencers, a controversial booming profession

Better regulation of the sector is what the French parliamentarians have spoken about. The senators adopted on May 9 in first reading a proposal of transpartisan law for further regulate the influence sector in France .

In January 2023, the Ministry of the Economy had carried out a consultation with players in this field, after multiple complaints of scams against certain influencers and vague outlines of the profession. The deputies had spoken in favor of this text several weeks ago, in a rare moment of agreement among elected officials, demonstrating the political consensus on this rising issue. France wants to better regulate a flourishing market, which today would represent a few hundred million euros per year in France.

Many brands, from the most unknown to luxury champions, are now working with these new figures, influencers, who are a hit on social networks, especially among young people. But what is really the job of an influencer? Can they live off it? Why should this practice be regulated? Overview of the challenges facing this young sector.

1. What is an influencer?

An influencer is a person who shares content, mainly photos and videos, with their community of subscribers on social networks or video platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.

The Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority (ARPP) already rigorously defined this status. However, the Ministry of the Economy has seen fit to include the term in the law, which the deputies confirmed last March at first reading. An influencer is “any natural or legal person who mobilizes his notoriety to communicate to the public by electronic means content aimed at directly or indirectly promoting goods, services or any cause whatsoever, in return for an economic benefit or a benefit in kind the value of which exceeds the thresholds set by decree”, dictates the bill.

Be careful though, the border is porous between the status of influencer and that of celebrity. Some well-known figures, such as athletes, artists or top models act as influencers when they promote products for payment. However, they do not necessarily appear as such.

2. How much do they earn? What is the size of the market?

Influencer earnings are difficult to estimate. Many are discreet about their remuneration. Additionally, there are influencers of all types, with communities that range from a few thousand subscribers to several million. Logically, the bigger the community, the more money influencers earn.

Concretely, the income of influencers comes mainly from partnerships with brands. The blogger appears in a publication with a product of the brand, for example an item of clothing, a piece of jewelry, a telephone model or even in a restaurant. The brand in question pays the influencer for each photo or video posted. Some superstar models are paid up to a million euros for a photo posted with a product on Instagram.

Others, those who create videos in particular, can monetize their content, that is to say authorize the diffusion of advertising clips at the beginning or during their video. They are then paid for each additional view. This is often the case with YouTube stars.

However, it is difficult to estimate the income of each. Some make a living from it, others carry out their influencer activity alongside another job. Currently, the number of influencers is estimated at around 150,000 in France. Globally, the market is expected to reach around $20 billion, according to Influencer marketing hub. In France, it would be equivalent to a few hundred million euros per year. Be that as it may, the market has been growing for several years.

3. Who works with influencers?

Most of the time, influencers work with brands that want to promote their products to a particular segment of the population.Just look at the profile of a famous influencer to understand that a large part of the publications are sponsored. The best known sometimes work with luxury brands. Lena Situations 25, one of the most followed figures in France (4 million subscribers on Instagram), regularly publishes photos sponsored by the brands Miu Miu, Chaumet, Chopard, Dior or Louis Vuitton.

Lesser-known figures work with more mainstream or even unknown brands. But not only in the fashion sector: some influencers promote video games, sports betting sites, alcohol, travel destinations, beauty products, decoration, e-commerce sites or objects electronics. The panel is very wide. But one thing is certain, very few brands today resist the trend of advertising on social networks, and in particular via influencers.

4. Why are the practices of influencers criticized?

If the subject of the regulation of influencers has reached the gates of Bercy and the Palais-Bourbon, it is largely because of the controversies that have erupted in recent months around scams on social networks.

The rapper Booba, figure of the French musical landscape, implicated various influencers from reality TV last spring: according to him, they scammed thousands of young people by promoting trading sites, promising financial gains.

Other influencers have advertised dangerous cosmetics, even self-medication to fight certain diseases. Still others have encouraged fraudulent training offers or sold products in “dropshipping”, this practice which consists of the resale of batches manufactured abroad without checking the quality of the articles. But above all, many do not explicitly specify the fact that they are paid by brands, in fact creating misleading or misleading content.

So many abuses that are difficult for the authorities to monitor: there are many influencers, their adver are sometimes only public for 24 hours, and their impact on their subscribers is difficult to quantify. But more and more testimonies have emerged on social networks, inciting Internet users to mistrust.

5. How do public authorities want to fight against abuse?

Faced with these excesses, the authorities have recently decided to take action. MEPs voted, at first reading, in favor of better protection for minors, in the particular case of “child influencers”, ie bloggers under 18 years of age.

The bill now wants to ban advertising for surgical operations, in particular aesthetic, as well as for financial products (trading and cryptos) and counterfeit products. It will more clearly oblige bloggers to display a mention when their publication is the result of a paid partnership, in order to act in complete transparency with Internet users. However, it should be noted that this last obligation was already established by the advertising code, but was only slightly respected. In 2021, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) judged that 60% of influencers did not comply with this obligation.

On the other hand, the ARPP developed two years ago a “certificate of responsible influence” which should allow brands to identify influencers certified for their good practices and their transparency. This certificate was extended last summer to influencers specializing in financial products.

6. Why is there a particular subject with financial products?

Because the latter are increasingly subject to discord in the legislation. With the health crisis, many young French people rushed to invest in financial products, in particular trading and cryptocurrencies, which had then reached record prices. A trend that has prompted some influencers to promote specialized sites and investments, while promising attractive returns. A drift that has sometimes resulted in significant losses for Internet users.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) had then developed with the ARPP a certificate of responsible influence for influencers in financial products .Several celebrities in the sector have called on the legislator to review its copy on the subject. Some explain in particular that crypto influencers are often the only sources of information to learn how to use them correctly.

7. What is the future of the market?

Everything suggests that the market will continue to explode. Social networks are booming, and the mobile phone has become one of the main vectors of information and consumption among new generations. Today, a social network like TikTok , where Internet users share short videos, brings together more than a billion users on the planet. A godsend for brands that want to reach a young audience. Each year, social networks suck up a little more of the advertising revenue pie compared to traditional players such as the media or search engines.

However, some influencers are calling for a jump in consumption patterns, in line with the climate emergency. Recently, the trend of “disinfluence” has appeared, with bloggers promoting more sustainable products, or dissuading Internet users from buying certain articles deemed to be of poor quality. The #deinfluencing hashtag has 430 million views on TikTok. A share which remains however tiny compared to the jungle of an environment which does not cease growing.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *