According to InNetwork around $240m is spent in North America each year on influencer marketing. This is a figure we can expect to grow in 2014, partly because there is so little trust in advertising, but primarily because people trust people.
Surveys have consistently shown a low a level of trust in marketing such as advertisements, with some surveys finding up to 75% people do not believe advertisements. This is in marked contrast to recommendations from other people. The 2011 Neilson survey asked people what sources of information were most relevant to them when seeking information about products and services. The response was overwhelmingly recommendations from people. Over 90% of people felt that recommendations from friends were highly or somewhat relevant to them and 75% felt that consumer opinions posted online were were highly or somewhat relevant to them. This compared to ads on social networks being down at 36%. The full results are in the table at the bottom of this article.
This year Neilson have released survey data on trust in various sources of buyer information. This survey also compared the findings in 2013 with 2007. The top three most trusted sources of information (% completely or somewhat trusting) were as follows:
The trust in branded websites has increased, taking it marginally ahead of consumer opinions. However, recommendations from people continue to have significantly higher trust than other sources such as advertising. People actually trust strangers recommendations posted online over advertisements.
In a world of social networks such recommendations will increasingly take place online and these will have an impact on buying behavior. According to Hubspot 71% of people are more likely to buy based on social media referrals.
In the online social world there is an emerging influencer role. These influencers include journalists, experts, celebrities, analysts, enthusiasts, academics and bloggers. These influencers through their own content, the content they share and their recommendations, have the ability to engage people and to influence their decisions. Their influence is not measured by how many followers they may have but by the impact they may have on buyer behavior.
These influencers tend to share characteristics for example they are well networked, have active minds, they are trendsetters and they are persuasive. 86% of these influencers blog and more than 50% have multiple blogs.
The benefits of identifying and reaching out to engage with influencers is clear for marketing teams. Influencers can help them:
- reach a targeted audience
- amplify content
- build trust
- generate engagement
Thus in 2014 we can expect to see a greater focus on influencer marketing. This will include:
- investment in identifying influencers in specific markets
- the growth of outreach strategies to engage such influencers
When Searching For Information About Products and Services
To What Extent Are The Following Relevant To You?
By Steve Rayson