Do Influencer Posts Really Change Consumers’ Minds?

Research suggests yes — even though people often underestimate the impact of advertising on their purchase decisions.

Approximately 41 percent of men and 30 percent of women say social media influencers affect their purchase decisions, according to new research cited by eMarketer — and an average of 32.5 percent of Millennials say they’ve changed their views in the past year as a result of social posts in general, signaling the impact of the content shared across social platforms.

This finding isn’t surprising on its own: Recommendations shared by friends have impacted consumers’ purchase decisions for as long as there have been purchases to make — and it stands to reason that this would be true regardless of the medium used to share content or opinions. But for marketers who have had difficulty linking influencer marketer to ROI, these findings are a step in the right direction — as well as potentially a reason to continue exploring the tactic as part of their marketing mix.

Additionally, it appears that Instagram is still the most prominent platform when it comes to influencers impacting consumers’ purchase patterns. As we’ve written previously, approximately 89 percent of influencers worldwide are using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns more often than they did a year ago, and Instagram has now become the primary platform for a majority of influencer-based campaigns on a global level.

And as for why influencer marketing seen as a smart bet by many brands, especially in light of research like the above?

“Influencer marketing is a form of promotion where an entity partners with outspoken market leaders who have curated their own audience to augment your brand’s message,” explains David “Rev” Ciancio, director for Partner Marketing at Yext (full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on that relationship here). “Some modern marketers see it as a form of ‘growth hacking,’ where the leverage these market leaders give you allows your brand awareness to grow exponentially faster and gain more trust than you would by more traditional advertising or paid media.”

The other part of the tactic’s appeal is it’s flexibility. For example, SMBs with smaller budgets have the option to work with micro-influencers who have fewer followers but high community engagement — and command much lower fees. A local restaurant could team up with a micro-influencer and potentially exchange a free meal for a series of posts, getting the social media message out without having to dedicate a significant portion of an ad budget.

But in any case, while this recent research is hardly ground-breaking, it is worth paying attention to: After all, people tend to greatly underestimate the impact of advertising on their decisions when it comes to self-reporting — so that 41 percent figure is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.