2014 Influencer Research Proves Influencers Drive Purchases

In August this year, US Digital Agency, Moxie, released some interesting research to support the value of engaging influencers as a part of a brand’s marketing plan. This is their second report (following on from an initial study in 2013) and it’s interesting to note how things have changed for the ‘influencer’ marketing model.

Influencers drive purchase

Unsurprisingly, the research showed that influencers inspire their fans and followers to purchase products or services. In their study, a massive 81% of fans purchased a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.

Trust is more important than disappointment

It was interesting to note that even though 39% of fans were disappointed by a purchase made based on an influencer’s recommendation, 70% of them earned that trust back. What this demonstrates is the strength of the relationship between an influencer and their fan-base.

Purchases have increased since 2013

If we compare the percentage of purchases based on recommendations from an influencer in 2013 we can see a significant increase from 73% to 81%. This suggests that influencers are becoming more influential than ever before.

Why fans consume influencer content

According to the research, surprisingly, subject matter is not the number one reason why people connect with influencers. Instead they are more concerned with establishing a personal connection with the influencer themself. People want to relate to people who are just like them and it’s this connection that creates a lasting bond. Interestingly, competitions are the lowest reason for connection with only 3% of people consuming influencer content for this reason.

How to incentivise influencers

Money talks

Money is the #1 way influencers would like to be incentivised. They see themselves as providing a valuable service to brands and therefore believe they should be adequately compensated for their time & expertise. Brand need to be aware that the majority of influencers are independent and rely on brand partnerships to help them maintain their online presence. Whereas influencers may have written about brands for free in the past (or for free products), they’re becoming more and more commercially savvy and there’s no such thing as ‘free publicity.’ In-fact our experience at Contagious Agency is that influencers can even feel insulted at requests for ‘free publicity’ from established brands (and the last thing a brand wants is an unhappy influencer!)

Free products are in demand

While money is the preferred incentive for influencers, free products are the most common incentive by brands.

Relevance is key

Although money is the most important incentive, influencers won’t work with any and every brand.  It’s important that there’s a strong relevance between the brand and the influencer. According to the research, the top three factors that influencer’s consider when selecting brands to work with are:

  1. Social responsibility or other beliefs of the brand aligning with your own (up 2% from last year)
  2. Personal affinity for the brand (up 2% from last year)
  3. Past relationship with the brand (up 4% from last year)

Influencer networks

In the research Moxie suggest that the best option to find influencers is via an influencer network.  In-fact their research has shown that influencers have a very favourable attitude towards influencer networks – 70% highly recommend working with a network and 62% highly trust working with a network.

How influencer networks incentivise influencers

Conversely to brands, influencer networks have the incentive structure ‘spot on’ by offering money & free products.

Wrap up:

In summary, the key findings for brands are:

  • Influencers drive purchases among their fans & followers (and more so in 2014 than 2013)
  • The relationship between influencers & their audience is so strong and disappointments can easily be forgiven and trust retained
  • Fans & followers consume content from influencers primarily because of a personal connection (not due to content quality or incentives)
  • Money & free products talk when it comes to incentivizing influencers
  • Brands must be relevant in order for an influencer to get involved
  • Influencer networks are generally supported by influencers and offer credible incentives

Read the full Moxie influencer report here>>.

Research Methodology:

Zoe Boalch

About Zoe Boalch

Zoë Boalch is co-founder of Contagious Agency. Zoë likes: hot chili, yoga, learning new stuff, positive people, taking risks Zoë dislikes: naysayers, grumpy people, rather large egos
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