Insight: Friends and family more influential than influencers – Because

Friends and family are on average four to five times more likely to influence people’s brand purchases than famous ‘influencers’, according to new research from creative experiences agency, Because.

Despite the rapid growth of influencer marketing and the rise of social media superstars, the research of 1,000 UK consumers aged 18-40 suggests most people are craving more relatable, deeper human connections. Just 1 in 10 people claim to be influenced by celebrities and famous people, when it comes to making a purchase decision.

Because’s new report ‘The Influence of Experience’ uncovered a rising star in the sphere of micro-influence – so-called ‘Experiencers’. Characterised by their keen appetite for new experiences and their passion for sharing their knowledge and recommendations with others, these ‘Experiencers’ are trusted beacons in a world where trust – especially in celebrities, the media and companies – is on the wane.

Compared to mainstream consumers, ‘Experiencers’ are more likely to be male, aged 25-34 and married or in a relationship. They regularly use an average of 6 social media channels with 42% posting content they have created compared to 19% of mainstream consumers. They are three times as likely to broadcast positive brand experiences widely, with nearly 1 in 5 telling ‘as many people as they can’ about good experiences. Just under half (44%) have also experienced virtual reality in the last 12 months.

The survey found clear evidence of the powerful influence of both personal and third-party experience when it comes to buying and recommending brands. 91% of those questioned said ‘the best way to sell me a new product or service is to allow me to experience it’, whilst 90% believed that ‘you have to experience a product or service before recommending it to someone else’. 84% of consumers admitted to someone else generally influencing their buying decisions, yet 80% say there are only a few people they trust to recommend things to them.

Sharon Richey, CEO of Because, comments: “At a time when there’s growing interest in brand trust and influencer marketing, this report provides clear evidence of the huge potential power of a distinct kind of micro-influencer – ‘Experiencers’. These passionate individuals represent a hugely valuable opportunity for brands to amplify their messages and influence consumers in a much more credible, relatable and engaging way than via celebrities or social media megastars. Experiencers may not have the reach of celebrity influencers, but they undoubtedly have more relevance for the majority of consumers.”

To find out more about ‘The Influence of Experience’ research project and to access the full whitepaper click here 

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