Influencer marketing remains a fast-growing industry, but in a society where women are consistently outnumbered and underpaid compared to their male counterparts, influencer marketing is one of the few billion dollar industries in the world that is almost entirely dominated by women. On nearly all social platforms, women outnumber male users, and in an industry projected to take in $10 billion in 2022, women are charging up to three or four times more than men for a sponsored post. Read on to learn why and how women are running the influencer world.
Part of this just comes down to the numbers. Despite comprising half the population, women generally outnumber men in terms of social media usage. Data from the Pew Research Center taken in January of 2018 shows that:
- 74 percent of adult women use Facebook (compared to 62 percent of adult men)
- 39 percent of adult women use Instagram (compared to 30 percent of adult men)
- 24 percent of adult women use Twitter (compared to 23 percent of adult men)
- 41 percent of adult women use Pinterest (compared to just 16 percent of adult men)
- 31 percent of adult women use Snapchat (compared to 23 percent of adult men)
- 24 percent of adult women use WhatsApp (compared to 20 percent of adult men)
Usage rates for men only outnumber women on Youtube (75 percent of adult men use Youtube, while a slightly lower 72 percent of adult women use the video sharing site).
This means that there are not only more women posting and creating content on these platforms, but also these platforms generally have a larger audience of women to reach.
All of that equates to the fact that women listen to other women, and that shows in the consumer numbers. An overwhelming majority (about 85 percent) of women account for all consumer purchases. Studies also show that up to 86 percent of women are more likely to buy a brand that they have never purchased when they interact with that brand via social media, according to a survey from Influence Central. About 87 percent of women also say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that they interact with, creating regular purchases and long-term loyalty. About 62 percent of women indicate that they have made a purchase based on recommendations from influencers.
By comparison, only 1.9 percent of consumers said that seeing an ad or commercial on TV had any impact on their purchasing decisions. Only 2.2 percent of consumers said that print ads had any effect on a decision to buy a product. While TV and print ads spread awareness, they had little effect on actually driving purchases.
Influencers on the whole build highly engaged but extremely niche audiences. Targeting those niche audiences is easier than overextending for broader audiences while preventing wasted resources for trying to reach the wrong audience. That leads to high levels of trusts developed between influencer and audience. That connection becomes easier and deeper when it’s women speaking to other women.
How are Women Achieving This?
Authenticity plays an essential role in life and in influencer marketing. Women are more likely to share personal stories and put words and content that shows their authenticity. It’s a means of building influence through storytelling, which creates a foundation of trust and reliability.
Audiences are more likely to engage with content that resonates with them, and authenticity is at the heart of that. Creating personal content and being open and honest makes women more real and relatable to their audiences. Audiences generally don’t like to feel like they are being sold to, and most can see right through any fakeness or forced enthusiasm. Women tend to present more emotions and honest opinions, which can go a long way to create a trusting relationship between influencer and audience. Essentially, honestly helps women influencers keep their credibility, which helps them build a loyal following and bring in new followers.
Performing Emotional Labor
Emotional labor also plays a significant role in creating that authenticity and getting all the tasks done that allow women to dominate the influencer market. While the definition for emotional labor isn’t completely set and means different things to different people, it mostly comprises all the small, taxing, and often invisible or unnoticed acts of labor that are more often than not performed by women. When it comes to influencer marketing, women are much more likely to put in that emotional labor to build authenticity and connections, whether it’s sharing fears and vulnerabilities, responding to DMs, or creating deeply personal content. Even just a brief glance at social platforms shows that women are generally more active and engaged than men.
Providing Social Proof
Providing social proof plays a key role in influencer marketing and essential to developing influencer personalities. While there are a wide range of different content metrics and variables involved, most of influencer marketing comes down to influencers and content creators actually using products, providing honest reviews and opinions, and then receiving any audience feedback.
The numbers back up the impact that influencers have. Data from 2017 shows that influencers who used affiliate links through RewardStyle were responsible for:
- 80 percent of mobile visits to Nordstrom
- 31 percent of mobile visits to net-a-porter
- 34 percent of mobile visits to Revolve
- 24 percent of mobile visits to ShopBop
- 22 percent of mobile visits to Sephora
Realistically, women have been shown to use more products every day than men. The number of products in the world continues to expand exponentially every single day, so trying to scroll through all those products to find the one that works for you can feel like an impossible task. That leads to a lot of research, which results in women looking to other women for recommendations. Influencers can test out products and recommend their favorites to other women.
The Right Timing
Along with the audience, usage rates, and the natural talents and storytelling abilities of women, this may just be the right point in history for women to succeed in influencer marketing. Getting started in the industry is easier than ever. With a camera, some basic editing equipment, and any products you already own, you’re already well on your way to becoming an influencer. Granted, it still takes time, effort, and a little luck to carve out a niche, make yourself stand out from the other influencers out there, and build an audience and loyal following, but it’s not impossible.
Gender disparities are still very real. The traditional business world is still characterized by disadvantages to women. Men are still paid more than women, and that wage gap becomes even larger when it comes to women of color and other marginalized women. Knowing that, it’s reassuring that women stand at the top of such a large and continuously growing industry as financially successful as influencer marketing. The future shows that influencer marketing will continue to grow as women maintain their roles as key influencers and brand leaders. Further expansion that takes into account new and diverse voices and stories can contribute to future growth within influencer marketing and ultimately help everyone in the industry thrive.