From Hype to Reality: Unpacking the Phenomenon of De-Influencing in South Africa

Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity over the last few years, with brands and businesses investing heavily in partnerships with social media influencers to promote their products and services. However, in South Africa, a new trend has emerged – de-influencing. De-influencing refers to the act of consumers consciously choosing to unfollow or ignore influencers due to various reasons. In this piece, we will explore the rise of de-influencing in South Africa, its possible causes, and its implications for brands and influencers.

"Authenticity, transparency, and social consciousness are crucial for influencers"

One of the main reasons behind the rise of de-influencing is the lack of authenticity among influencers. Many influencers have been accused of promoting products that they do not use or believe in, using fake followers, or exaggerating their lifestyles. As a result, consumers are becoming more skeptical and cautious about whom they follow and the content they engage with.

Another possible reason for the trend is the changing social and cultural landscape in South Africa. With issues such as diversity, inclusion, and sustainability taking center stage, consumers are increasingly looking for influencers who share their values and stand for social causes. Influencers who fail to meet these expectations or are seen as promoting harmful or offensive content are likely to be unfollowed or ignored by their followers.

According to a survey by Influentix, a South African influencer marketing agency, more than 80% of South African consumers believe that influencers should be transparent about their brand partnerships, and 71% think that influencers have a responsibility to promote social causes. This highlights the growing importance of authenticity and social responsibility among influencers.

Recently, Vanessa Padi  a South African influencer who is known for her fashion, lifestyle, and travel content on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube posted a campaign promoting Forex Trading however her follower’s sentiment was not as expected  

Comments included 

“Not you too with this Octa thing”

“Can you make another video with same details, some of us didn’t pay attention because of that body”

“Lmao everyone is saying hot hot hot 😂 lol the woman is trying to help you get moola b”

So before you brush off the idea, consider that de-influencing is a rising trend in South Africa that reflects the changing attitudes and values of consumers towards influencers. Brands and businesses need to take note of this trend and carefully select influencers who align with their values and products. Influencers, on the other hand, need to be more transparent about their collaborations with brands and promote social causes to meet their followers’ evolving expectations. The rise of de-influencing serves as a reminder that authenticity, transparency, and social consciousness are crucial for influencers to maintain their relevance and success in the long term.


  • “The Rise of De-Influencing: Why and How Consumers Are Cutting Ties with Influencers” by Social Media Today
  • “Why Are South African Consumers Cutting Ties with Influencers?” by Influentix
  • “The Rise of De-Influencing: South African Consumers Are Not Impressed with Fake Influencers” by Bizcommunity