A sad, but perhaps unsurprisingly revelation came from a recent survey done by digital agency 383. People aged between 18-35 are more inclined to rather take advice from digital influencers than they are to trust the judgement of parents and friends when it comes to making big life decisions. 58% of students (18-24 year olds) and 53% of ‘Gullenials’ (gullible millennials) believe Facebook, Instagram and Online Bloggers are more trustworthy than Mum and Dad, proving lessons haven’t been learnt from the social media controversy surrounding Fyre Festival which capitalised on the naivety of the young social media community.

The survey by 383 further highlights the extent to which social media influences the buying decisions of consumers across generations. It also highlights the increasing control and dominance social media has over big decision, including visiting foreign countries.

As a blogger myself, and someone that participates in social media sporadically, this is particularly close to home. I certainly wouldn't describe myself as an influencer but I am quite familiar with the questionable information that comes from social media.

While there are new rules in place to make Influencers more transparent with their sponsored posts unless they have millions of followers I often see people blatantly advertising stuff without tagging it as an ad. I have likely done it myself as it is an easy mistake to make. While it is often quite easy for me to see what has been paid for and what has not, other more naive people will not. The fitness and health industry is particularly bad for it as the influencer could be someone advertising something that may have a negative effect on your health.

A breakdown of the survey shows:

  • 44% of young adults would use Instagram over the recommendation of friends and family to influence big decisions – such as visiting foreign countries
  • 58% of 18-24 year olds, 53% of 24-35 year olds, 49% of 35-44 year olds, 29% of 44-55 year olds and only 13% of 55+ year olds trust social media (Instagram, Facebook and Online Bloggers) over friends and family when it comes to travel
  • Social media influences 71% of travel-planners’ decisions in the UK, with only 36% relying on word of mouth from family and friends