From Likes to Genuine Engagement

In today's social media landscape, clicking the "like" button has taken on a new role as a digital currency, profoundly impacting content visibility through complex algorithms.

By Darine Saleh

The more likes a piece of content receives, the greater its exposure and level of engagement. Influencer marketing has evolved to prioritise authenticity and substance over mere appearances, where quality and innovation have become paramount.

Instagram's decision in 2021 to hide like counts underscores the importance of content quality and authenticity, shifting the focus from superficial metrics to meaningful interactions.

The impact of influencer marketing is undeniable, as evidenced by 80% of marketers recognising significant industry changes in recent years. Furthermore, 89% of marketers intend to maintain or increase their influencer marketing budgets, driven by its status as the second-highest ROI generator, surpassed only by short-form video content.

Instagram leads the way as the platform of choice for influencer campaigns, utilised by 68% of marketers, followed by Facebook at 52%, and TikTok at 42%, with projections indicating a growth to 55% by 2025. The influence of content creators and influencers has led significant media companies to acquire influencer marketing agencies, solidifying their role in the future of marketing.

The number of Instagram users and influencers is surging, as indicated by the latest report, which ranks Instagram as the fourth most-used social platform, boasting over a billion monthly active users worldwide and attracting more than one million advertisers.

Instagram influencers are making a substantial global impact, and those in the UAE are no exception. In 2023, Instagram influencers in the UAE consistently rose in prominence, capitalising on the platform's expansive global reach.

As of January 2023, Instagram boasted a user base of over 5,255,300 in the UAE, encompassing 50.7% of its entire population. These influencers actively engage with their followers and cultivate successful collaborations with brands to promote diverse products and services.

The Media Lab, renowned for its expertise in influencer marketing within the UAE, has meticulously curated a list of the top 10 Instagram influencers for 2023. This exclusive list includes three prominent Lebanese influencers: Joelle Mardinian, Nour Arida (who splits her time between Lebanon and Paris and, in 2023, received the Arab Woman of the Year award at a ceremony hosted by London Arabian), and Karen Wazen Bakhazi.

Since relocating to the UAE, these influencers have garnered global recognition and have taken on ambassadorial roles for renowned international beauty and fashion brands.

A striking example of successful influencer marketing is Maybelline's campaign in early 2023, which featured prominent influencers such as Gigi Hadid, Liza Koshy, and Patrick Star to promote its new Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara. This campaign garnered over 1 million engagements on Instagram and led to a significant increase in mascara sales.

Its success can be attributed to the diverse influencers involved, including celebrities, beauty bloggers, and social media stars, ensuring a wide-reaching impact and generating substantial buzz. These influencers masterfully created high-quality content, seamlessly blending information and entertainment, engaging their followers.

Furthermore, Maybelline's comprehensive campaign promotion across various channels, including social media, email, and print, maximised its visibility. This campaign exemplifies the ever-evolving potential of influencer marketing in 2023, highlighting the pivotal role of strategic influencer partnerships in achieving brand awareness, boosting sales, and forging authentic connections with consumers.

Consequently, influencer marketing has firmly established itself as an enduring and vital component of successful marketing strategies in today's dynamic advertising landscape.


Darine Saleh

Darine Saleh, a content marketing producer and communications consultant with 15+ years in media and production, focuses on collaborating with individuals and organizations. Her goal is to help transform their expertise into innovative media formats. Holding a master's degree in corporate and digital communication, Darine brings a deep understanding of influencer marketing and emerging technology trends, especially in artificial intelligence.
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