Celebrity Influence Continues to Fall Flat – This Time with the Election

November 4, 2016

Holly Pavlika

SVP, Marketing & Content at Collective Bias
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Next week, the American people will cast their votes for the next President of the United States. Seemingly every television and radio station, newspaper and social media site is full of opinions, projected results and polling data 24/7. Even celebrities are jumping into the mix by posting pictures of themselves voting and veteran political figures are loudly announcing their votes. But, with only 4 amount of days left until Election Day, do celebrities and political figures influence citizens’ voting decisions?

Regardless of the candidate who is ultimately elected to the highest office in the land, here at Collective Bias we are most interested in the power that influence has throughout the election process. In March we found that only 3% of consumers would consider buying a product in-store if it was endorsed by a celebrity. So, we decided to explore celebrity influence further, as well as political figures’ endorsements, to see if they play a part in voters’ decisions.

Celebrity Influence Continues to Fall Flat

As it turns out, no matter how loud celebrities shout from the rooftop – or social media account – their opinions really don’t make an impact on voters’ decisions. In our survey of 2,000 U.S voters, only 2% say celebrity endorsements are influential when it comes to the 2016 presidential race.

Only 2% of voters say celebrity endorsements are influential in the 2016 presidential race. Click To Tweet

The endorsements that actually have the highest amount of influence over voting decisions come from political figures (38%). Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary and Ted Cruz endorsed Trump, but many politicians have declined to officially endorse a candidate. These comments and actions truly matter to voters and are taken into consideration at the polling booths.

Family members and peers have a slight influence over decisions, 18% and 12%, respectively. Yet roughly a third (31%) of the U.S. population is not influenced at all as they do not plan to vote in this election. The age breakdown of this group was eye opening as more than a third (38%) of the U.S. population age 18 – 24 and more than a third (38%) of the U.S. population age 25 – 34 do not plan to vote. One may look at those groups as possibly the most influenced by celebrities, but the endorsements are falling on many deaf ears.

So what does this mean in the world of influencers?

No matter how much attention a celebrity receives due to their endorsements and/or personal opinions, it does not necessarily drive the same consumer action. Time and resources spent securing and nurturing the support is most likely more impactful for other tactics.

Additional Reading: Measurement, Targeting and Data in Influencer Marketing

We can learn a lot by watching how the American public is influenced in this election season. The bottom line is this: When casting your vote on effective influencer marketing strategies, keep in mind that celebrities don’t typically have an effective platform to convert viewers into buyers.

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Holly Pavlika

SVP, Marketing & Content at Collective Bias

Holly oversees marketing and PR. Holly, also a blogger, founded MOMentumNation while serving as the Executive Creative Director and Managing Director at Big Fuel, a pure play social media agency. She is an award-winning creative marketing industry veteran who was recognized in 2012 by Klout as the “most influential agency person” and uses her voice for social good with 10X10 Educate Girls, Every Mother Counts, Global Poverty Project and the UN Foundation Shot@Life campaign.