Majority of UAE influencers don't disclose paid content, survey reveals

New research has found a 'lack of transparency' in the sector, with 84 per cent of UAE influencers not disclosing branded content or brand partners, while only 44 per cent reveal paid partnerships.

Celebrity and digital marketing consultancy Bukhash Brothers has released its first Influencer Marketing 2018-2019 survey, which has revealed 84 per cent of influencers do not "disclose in a clear manner any brand integrations or branded content" that is posted.

Furthermore, just 44 per cent use the "paid partnership" tag on Instagram, despite 61 per cent of respondents revealing that they have signed exclusive contracts with at least one brand.

Bukhash Brothers interviewed 100 leading influencers from the UAE to gain insight, analyse trends and identify behaviors exhibited by social media influencers.

While more than 80 per cent of respondents said that they would barter for free products, services or experiences, a quarter (24 per cent) 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," said Anas Bukhash, founder and managing director of Bukhash Brothers."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."

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

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