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‘A return to grassroots influence’: Social Soup reveals new social content research

Australian consumers are leaning more towards relatable content than traditional influencer campaigns when making purchasing decisions, according to new research from Social Soup.

Unveiled on Thursday morning at Social Soup’s second annual Influence Upfronts in Sydney, the preference for information over entertainment was one of the research’s key findings.

It found that informative, relatable, authentic, creative and friendly content were the top five influencing categories, at 52% of consumers, 40%, 35%, 35% and 32%, respectively.

Inspiring content influences 26% of consumers, while educational, entertaining and funny influence just 22%, 18% and 7%, respectively.

“At first glance, the findings of the research are surprising,” said Sharyn Smith, CEO of Social Soup.

“Some of the most-watched content on social media is funny and entertaining, but that isn’t going to work as well for brands and marketers as content that you might think as comparatively dull, that is, content that is informative and relatable.”

Video was the most influential content in driving purchases with 35% of consumers engaging with Instagram Reels and 26% with TikTok. 81% of consumers have bought an item from these social media platforms in the past 12 months, because of content they had seen.

Interestingly, consumer buying patterns are not always driven by a relationship with the content creator. 27% of consumers had reached for the wallet despite not following the account that created the content.

“What we are seeing is the evolution of social content from a commercial point of view. Traditional creator and campaign content and strategies are not going to work as well with consumers as they did a few years ago,” Smith continued.

“We’re seeing a return to real, grassroots influence,” she said.

“People want less aspirational and more relatable content than ever before. Big, aspirational, entertaining, mass-media ad campaigns might work with some consumers on some occasions, but that isn’t the case when it comes to social.”

The research was conducted in April 2024 with a nationally representative sample of 1,176 respondents across Australia.

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