10/10/2016 07:38 BST | Updated 05/10/2017 06:12 BST

Dropping George Clooney For Your Uncle Jeff

If you're one of Kim Kardashian's 81.7 million Instagram followers you'll have seen this kind of stuff before.


Photo Credit: Kim Kardashian Instagram

It's kinda shameless. She holds up a product in a half-arsed fashion and flaunts it in front of her huge sphere of influence in exchange for cash.

Marketers call this 'influencer marketing' and it's an easy win, a shortcut of sorts.

A Radio Times survey of UK teens revealed that five of the top ten most relatable stars in their eyes are social media celebrities.

The logic then is clear to see.

Like more traditional celebrity endorsed advertising, influencer marketing isn't a particularly new phenomenon. The celebrity social media account, a device to connect with fans on a more human level, has been exploited for monetary gain from the off.

With 22% of British adults using an ad blocker when online, it's unsurprising brands are having to get creative in their efforts to get in front of their consumers.

The problem for brands of late has been an over-saturation of this type of marketing with the social media big hitters. The top-tier influencers. The Alfie Deyes and Kim Kardashians of the world.

There have been a string of gaffe's where celebs have mindlessly pasted the PR agencies suggested caption, along with the message from the PR agency itself. Doesn't look great does it?

So why are brands even bothering to persevere with influencer marketing?

It all comes back to that word 'authenticity'.

Placed on a high pedestal with the rise of global hipsterdom, every aspect of a brand needs to appear untampered and sincere.

Yet nobody believes that Kim Kardashian has gone out of her way to post about the importance of @sugarbearhair to her haircare routine out of a sense of sharing knowledge.

She's too important, the brand is too small, the disconnect is clear to see.

So brands are using 'micro-influencers' to flog their wares.

And unlike the enormous reach of their top-tier influencer counterparts, micro-influencers can often have as little as 1000 followers.

Think of it as Nespresso dropping George Clooney in favour of your uncle Jeff.

In fact, statistics have shown that the smaller an influencer's reach when posting sponsored content, the more 'engagement' the post gets.

In real life this means that you're more likely to 'like' and comment on a post by someone who feels like they are similar to you.

It's the reason that pyramid schemes work... Get friends to sell to their friends.

It feels authentic.

Even if it's the exact opposite.

So the next time you see your mate post an Instagram selfie with a Starbucks frappuccino, ask yourself, is she pimping her profile out in the name of brand engagement, or is she just another millennial...