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The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has grown far past its tech- and gadget-heavy roots, to the point where every agency holding company looks to plant its own flag around a certain topic.

For Omnicom, the topic for this year is the growing world of influencers and creators, who have come to dominate so much of the social media space they’ve spilled out into other media channels. And now that they have, Omnicom is treating them as a legitimate media channel — by measuring them, benchmarking their presence on platforms and building them into its systems through a variety of partnerships the holding company is announcing over the course of CES.

It all starts with a longitudinal study Omnicom executed in November 2023, conducted with 1,062 people through its Omni Signal consumer research organ — part of Omni, the holding company’s operating platform connecting all its agencies and services.

The aim is to benchmark and track the growing impact that influencers are having at all points of the customer journey, and gain insight into how, when, where and with whom creators are influencing consumer’s actions across a variety of platforms.
The study found that the younger you are, the more likely a creator is going to hold more sway over your purchase decisions. Although the influencer world is generally seen as an upper-funnel marketing option, with Gen Z, the sway spreads further down.

For another, it’s the influencer not the platform that’s going to have an effect on consumer discovery or purchase decisions, explained Kevin Blazaitis, who heads Omnicom Media Group’s influencer practice.

“For those [consumers] under the age of 35, they’re not only more likely to take an immediate purchase action from an influencer, but they’re likely to take that purchase action in platform,” said Blazaitis. “Which is huge when you think about the ability to convert very quickly and introduce somebody to a product, have them purchase it and walk away with it right there.”

The study also found some distinction among the platforms, including:

  • YouTube is singularly strong across the entire purchase journey;
  • Amazon Storefronts are starting to win over more younger cohorts;
  • Facebook is the top performer for the taking consumers directly to purchase site;
  • And, if it’s not already obvious, TikTok is the primary vehicle to attract Gen Z by far.
  • Even more importantly, influencers and creators have muscled their way to the forefront of having an effect on purchase decisions, according to the research.

“As a go-to source of information, or reliance on a source for information, right after word of mouth, friends and family come social influencers — more so than any other form of advertising,” said Pam Marsh, managing director for primary research at Omnicom Media Group North America. “It’s certainly a media touch point where people are not just learning from but are proactively going to and relying upon social influencers across their consumer journey.”

Which is why Omnicom’s recent acquisition of Flywheel — the deal just officially closed last week — is an important through point in what the holding company is doing. “As engagement increases, how can the trust of purchase really drive that through? And Flywheel and everything else coming on will only add to Omnicom’s capabilities for that, especially when you start thinking about connecting creators to commerce,” said Blazaitis.