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Survey finds 84 per cent of UAE influencers do not disclose paid content

Bukhash Brothers survey finds 84 per cent of UAE influencers do not disclose branded content or brand partners, while only 44 per cent reveal ‘paid partnerships

Anas Bukhash

With the impact and acceptability of social media marketing on the rise, leading celebrity and digital marketing consultancy Bukhash Brothers has released the findings of its first ‘Influencer Marketing’ 2018 – 2019 survey where they interviewed 100 leading influencers from the UAE to gain insight, analyze trends and identify behaviors exhibited by social media influencers.

The research has revealed that 84% of influencers do not “disclose in a clear manner any brand integrations or branded content” that is posted, while only 44% use the “paid partnership” tag on Instagram when being paid by brands. This lack of transparency in disclosure of branded content or paid partnerships is particularly noteworthy, as 61% of respondents shared that they have signed exclusive contracts with at least one brand.

While over 80% of respondents said that they would barter for free products, services or experiences, 24% of influencers shared that this was their main source of income, with the majority of micro-influencers charging in the $1,000 – $2,500 range per sponsored post.

“Transparency is critical – It’s about respecting your audience and not trying to fool the consumer. The survey results were surprising, but we predict that the transparency numbers will level out as followers are getting more savvy and influencers are getting more serious about fostering authentic long-term relationships. Additionally, the regulations by the National Media Council (NMC) and licensing system for UAE-based influencers has already had an impact towards streamlining the industry into international best practice and protocols,” said Anas Bukhash, Founder & Managing Director, Bukhash Brothers.

Additional findings revealed that “lifestyle” was the number one category of specialization with 68% of respondents posting lifestyle focused content, followed by travel (58%) and fashion (50%). Instagram remained the undisputed platform of choice, while 52% of respondents confirmed that they are officially licensed in the UAE.

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