Youth-targeted influencer marketing earns ire of advocacy groups

Marketing DIVE
David Kirkpatrick

The use of social media influencers by brands is gaining steam as digital celebrities build impressive audiences. The trend also points to consumers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for short, entertaining content on mobile phones. As brands look to build their content strategies, they are relying on influencers as one way to get there quickly.

However, influencer marketing and sponsored posts have become an area of contention in the online advertising world as complaints mount of a lack of transparency. The need to clearly communicate when content creators are on a brand’s payroll is even more relevant when marketing to children.

The main issue the advocacy groups have with influencer marketing is that children don’t have the cognitive ability to separate content from native advertising. The groups point out examples like clips of kids unboxing toys on YouTube and a brother and sister who taste test potato chips and have 27 million views and counting on the platform.

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