Word-of-mouth tops online reviews and traditional advertising as the top influencer of purchase decisions, finds a Razorfish survey of online consumers across 4 key markets. The study is the latest to demonstrate the importance of word-of-mouth, which has been found to be a key influence among various groups ranging from college students to female empty nesters.
In the Razorfish study, the ranking of 5 measured purchase influencers (ranked by percentage of respondents rating them as influential) broke out as follows for US and UK consumers:
- Online reviews from other consumers;
- Online reviews from industry experts;
- Traditional advertising (TV, radio, print); and
- Social media posts from friends/family.
It’s interesting to note that these respondents rated online reviews from other consumers as being more influential then expert reviews, following a theme seen in other research.
Meanwhile, word-of-mouth also topped the list among Brazilian and Chinese respondents. Brazilians, however, rated traditional advertising second, while social media posts from friends and family ranked third among Chinese respondents.
Although traditional advertising tactics weren’t ranked highly, it’s worth noting that a Keller Fay study recently found that brand content on TV, in print and on the radio generates a significant amount of word-of-mouth in the US.
Nevertheless, there’s an – unsurprising – aversion to advertising that emerges in the study. In fact, a majority of respondents in the US and UK say they do anything they can to avoid ads, and more than three-quarters of respondents in each market say they hate hearing or seeing ads multiple times on the radio, TV or online. (That doesn’t mean they’re not influential, though: see MarketingCharts’ report on the most influential advertising channels for more on this topic.)
For brands to engender a more positive response from consumers, they should focus on being useful, according to the Razorfish report. Depending on the market, between 79% (UK) and 88% (China) of respondents agree that they prefer brands that are useful over brands that are interesting. Moreover, there’s a strong consensus that it’s important that brands make consumers’ lives easier, with 87%-96% of respondents (depending on the market) agreeing with this sentiment.
About the Data: The data is based on a Spring 2014 survey of over 1,680 individuals with internet access in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and China. The study was conducted in partnership with the Center for the Digital Future.