The Benefits Of Influencer Marketing Over Incentivized Reviews

A significant change in Amazon’s community guidelines for product reviews has left many people scratching their heads: what’s the difference between a paid Amazon review, and an endorsement from an influencer?

First, let’s consider the similarities:

  • Both reviewers, and influencers, are usually given a free sample of a product from a brand.
  • The brand pays for the reviewer, or influencer, to write their honest opinion about the product.
  • Reviewers, and influencers, under FTC law, need to disclose compensation for the content.

Why Did Amazon Ban Incentivized Reviews?

Consumers no longer trust reviews that are overwhelmingly positive, or obviously endorsed by brands.

TechCrunch cited that the overwhelming bias of paid Amazon reviewers was likely caused by the following reasons:
“– the fact that the vendor or seller has likely sought out those reviewers who are less critical, and the fact that reviewers may believe they would no longer have the opportunity to receive these sorts of offers, if they chose to say negative things.”
While some influencers might feel obligated to be positive in their content, there’s some distinct differences in the relationship between influencer marketing brands and those who directly ask for product reviews from paid individuals.

The Benefits Of Influencer Marketing Over Incentivized Reviews


Unlike incentivized reviewers, influencers are vetted for specific attributes before being matched to a campaign.

Brands who engage in influencer marketing rarely build, and manage, their own network. Influencer marketing agencies mange the process of vetting, hiring, and engaging influencers in campaigns.


Despite being paid, influencers still need to rely on their audience to enjoy their promoted content, share the content, and engage with it, before it can be labeled as a success.


Influencer content often promotes a product to build awareness of a brand, along with encouraging sales, but it does not rely on used promotional techniques to do this.

Rather than telling people to “buy” a product, an influencer highlights the use of a product in a real-world situation. Recipes, and DIY projects are some of the ways influencers can talk about a product without being forceful.

This kind of content is useful, does not request anything of the consumer, and offers helpful advice on how a product can be used in their own lives.


Agency-run influencer activations come with analysis for understanding how consumers reacted to the content published throughout the life of the campaign.

This information is vital for providing context behind what types of content generated the most engagement, and can even go as far as determining the demographics of the influencer’s audience.

Why Consumers Trust Influencers, Not Reviewers

It’s difficult for an individual to understand the credibility of a reviewer. They would have to follow their reviews on Amazon (not easy, unless one regularly checks for new reviews, and tests the products they review).

An influencer, however, has amassed a following through genuine unsponsored content. When they work with a brand they put their relationship with their audience at risk. So it is in the best interest of the influencer to only work with brands they could genuinely endorse, whether paid or not.

As long as the influencer discloses their relationship with a brand, their audience feel confident in the authenticity of the content.

We previously published a piece that explains why people trust influencers – essentially it comes down to how reliable past recommendations have been for the followers. Learn more by reading: How Consumers Really Feel About Sponsored Content.