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The power of Love Island in creating influencers

But brands need to be careful not to be ‘mugged off’ says Sportstar Influencer’s Oliver Morrison.

Love it or hate it, Love Island has become as big a part of the British summer as Pimms, Wimbledon and Summer Fetes. With England’s performance in the World Cup not even denting its popularity, Love Island has taken a ‘phenomenon’ status that matches Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat.

Over three million people (viewing figures have peaked at 3.7 million so far) are tuning into the ITV2 show six days a week to find out if Dr Alex has been matched up yet (he has, at the time of writing), whether anyone is likely to beat Dani and Jack in the final, and which contestants have ‘done bits’.

Of course, anyone thinking that the contestants entering Love Island are actually looking for love is being mugged off. It’s not even about the £50,000 cash prize for the winners. It’s purely about celebrity, ambassador roles, endorsements and that #ad hashtag.

For brands, working with influencers – whether sports stars, YouTubers or reality TV celebrities – has become an integral part of the marketing mix. But the value and suitability of influencer partnerships is a moveable feast.

‘Does this person use the same social platforms as our audience and how many followers do they have?’ is often the default starting point in campaign planning meetings.

But is that enough, given the amount of budget currently being allocated to influencers by brands, PRs and marketing agencies? What’s becoming clear is that millions of followers alone doesn’t necessarily translate into your message getting across to the people you need to reach.

This all chimes with our own research here at Sportstar Influencer. Being data geeks, we created an algorithm to collect social followers. But we’ve taken it one step further – we also started looking at other ways to measure the worthiness of influencer candidates. We quickly found that the missing element was ‘sentiment’ – i.e. computationally identifying and categorising public opinion of a particular well-known figure.

This is because public opinion changes like the wind, often based on the actions of the influencer themselves. We’ve all read about the high-profile cases of YouTubers becoming commercially toxic overnight because of something they’ve said or done.

The good news is that these changes in sentiment aren’t always so extreme – but it’s just as important to be able to see smaller fluctuations in a personality’s popularity, ideally in real time, so that you can make the most informed choice when placing your influencer budget.

Our work here at Sportstar Influencer is focused primarily on sporting personalities – covering football, tennis, F1, rugby and more. But you’ll find us all tuning into ITV2 at 9pm every evening, so we’ve applied our formulas and algorithms to the Love Island competitors to see who’s tracking highest. And it makes for interesting reading.

The life-changing prospect of Love Island was captured perfectly recently on Good Morning Britain, where ‘Little G’ Georgia Steel, who walked out of the villa rather than recouple, recounted how she had 3,000 Twitter followers when she started the show, and now had more than 1.1 million. Her disbelief is perhaps tempered by the knowledge that she now has a career as an influencer ready and waiting for her in the wings. And given experience of the activities of past contestants, it should keep her busy for a couple of years yet.

So as the show heads towards the final on Monday July 30, we’ve gathered up the stats for all of this year’s entrants, whether they appeared for just a couple of days, or lasted the distance.

And here it is – the Love Island 2018 PowerList (and yes, we still class Caroline Flack as one of the Islanders, because she’s still lovely).


To view the full Love Island 2018 PowerList of all 38 contestants, simply click here.

And if you’re considering licensing agreements, influencer engagement or more with the Islanders, try not to get mugged off.

Oliver Morrison is ceo of Sportstar Influencer. The company melds social and real-world performance stats with up-to-the-minute search and demographic data to identify the real marketing value of sports players across the world. By aggregating this information for the first time, brands and influencers can work together to find audiences and new markets.

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