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De-Influencers Rise Up as Influencer Marketing Spend Sinks

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, Oscar Wilde once wrote. Does that mean any social media mention is a good social media mention? The rise of de-influencers may put that aphorism to the test. Are you ready for five minutes of what you need to lead in marketing? Let’s roll.

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Aired: February 24, 2023

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Hello everybody, Robert Rose here with the news – it’s what’s new and, really, what’s important in the world of marketing. For the best in best practices for content and marketing – you can always go to

I think we’ve reached peak irony when it comes to influencer marketing. I’ll come back to why in a moment. But the world of Influencers seems to be going through some of the same turmoil we’re seeing in social media marketing generally.

Many brands are now reducing their influencer marketing budgets. Most are citing how expensive it is relative to the return and their overweighting on influencers over the last three years’ focus on e-commerce and digital content.

Related: Influencer Marketing Goes Terribly Wrong 

So, maybe the right word here is right-sizing. As brands begin to right-size their budgets, the number of content creators and influencers is still growing by leaps and bounds. As one marketer told me, “We just have to be much more selective about the creators we’re working with. It’s becoming a buyers’ market.”

Layered into this influencer rightsizing is the other news this week. Both Instagram and Facebook have shut down their livestream shopping business. Meta (the parent company of Instagram and Facebook) noted how difficult it’s been to make livestream a thing.

Now, layer in one of the most interesting social media trends to emerge in 2023 ­– the rise of de-influencing. On TikTok and other social media channels, content creators are focusing telling people what not to buy. Some are even creating content about their bad experiences with products they were influenced to purchase by other influencers working for that brand.

This is a fascinating trend. When you think about it, isn’t de-influencing just, well, influencing?   But, you know, all influencing is good influencing. Or maybe all de-influencing is just influencing.

I don’t know about any of that. But I do know it’s all marketing.

When you think about it, isn’t de-influencing just influencing, asks @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Share on X

I don’t know about any of that. But I do know it’s all marketing.

What’s our take here at CMI?

Content creators, influencers, and brands are entering the classic definition of market saturation. Put simply: If you’re an influencer trying to appeal to brands – it’s a much higher bar than three years ago.

There are only two ways to compete: You have to differentiate by being markedly better in your offering, and (you have to do both) you must take existing market share from competitors.

I think that’s at the heart of this de-influencing trend. Yes, some of it might be a protest against the consumerization of content creators. But a good amount will be influencers themselves looking to differentiate.

If you’re a brand looking for influencers, finding the value in the noise is the hardest part. It may be a buyer’s market right now for influencers, but the good ones – the true influencers – will be even more expensive.

I want to know what you think. How are you approaching influencer marketing these days? Are you pulling back?  Doubling down?

If you’re an influencer – how are you differentiating?

Related: 6 Influencer Marketing Metrics To Watch and 5 Tools To Help

Let’s keep the conversation going. Send me a note – I’d love to know what you think.

That’s five minutes of news you can use to lead your content and marketing strategy. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, as always, it’s your story – tell it well.

I’ll see you next week.

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