How ‘Social Influencers’ Took Over The Internet

Whether you love them or hate them, there is no getting away from so-called ‘influencers’. These shiny, happy millennials are the hottest trend in advertising since the advent of television. This infographic charts the meteoric rise of this glitziest of professions – from Fatty Arbuckle to Michelle Phan.

According to a recent study by US marketing and strategy firm The McCarthy Group, a massive 84 per cent of consumers aged 35 and under do not like or trust traditional advertising. This has caused an increasing number of businesses to turn to “influencer marketing” – where products are spruiked by influential people directly to their online followers.

The jury is still out on how effectively these campaigns translate to hard sales, but it has proved highly lucrative for influencer partners. Established celebrities have been known to net hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post. Not bad work if you can get it!

This infographic from US graduate education service breaks down the evolution of influencer marketing: a business with much older origins than you might think. In addition to providing a fun history lesson, it also explains how the influencer economy works and lists some of the most notable players. If you’re over 35 you’ve probably never heard of any of them. Same.


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