5 Branded Posts from Influencers Required to Spur a Purchase

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The facts:

  • Consumers need to see at least three branded posts from social influencers before they seek more information about an endorsed product, and five such posts to make a purchase, per a study that social media marketing firm HelloSociety, a New York Times company, shared with Mobile Marketer. More than 82% of people who like influencer content said they have made a purchase as a result of an influencer.
  • Survey respondents were more than three times as likely to follow an influencer on social media than to follow a brand directly, indicating the ability of influencers to better reach consumers. About three-fourths (74%) of people who follow influencers consider themselves influential among their own social circles, telling four people on average about brands, products and services they have seen an influencer promote.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents can be considered early adopters, saying that within their peer group they are the first to try new brands, products and services. HelloSociety surveyed more than 500 social media users who said they have an affinity for influencer content.

What you need to know:

HelloSociety’s survey indicates that people who like to follow influencers are more affected by influencer recommendations than by branded posts. However, the frequency of branded posts does have an effect on the willingness of social-media followers to seek out more information about a product or service, and to make a purchase. The finding that five branded posts are necessary to drive a purchase decision compares with the “Rule of Seven” adage that says a prospect needs to see or hear a marketing message at least seven times before they act, as HelloSociety notes.

While HelloSociety’s survey focuses on consumer who expressed an affinity for influencer content, broader studies suggest that influencers have a more muted effect on consumer behavior. The majority of social media users looking for product information prefer posts from other consumers, with 51% of survey respondents saying they trust user images because they’re more authentic and trustworthy than brand-owned creative, per a survey by Olapic and Cite Research. Almost half (44%) of survey respondents said they follow an influencer because they “just like looking at their posts,” while only 29% said they have made a purchase based on an influencer post, the survey found.

Instagram, which is the most popular platform for influencer marketing, has seen influencer engagement rates hover near all-time lows this year as the image-sharing app has gotten crowded with sponsored posts, analytics firm InfluencerDB found in a study of how people respond to influencer posts. The engagement rate for sponsored posts fell to 2.4% in Q1 2019 from 4% three years earlier, while the rate for non-sponsored posts slid to 1.9% from 4.5% for the comparable periods. Sponsored posts tend to generate higher engagement than non-sponsored posts, likely because influencers put more effort into creating high-quality content when they’re being sponsored and because Instagram’s algorithms give higher precedence to sponsored posts, per InfluencerDB.

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