What kind of influence does the type of source in advertisements on social media have on the purchasing decision of consumers? To answer this question, an experiment was set up to investigate the final purchase decisions and the underlying decision process. It has also been investigated whether it is possible to predict whether people would prefer the advertised brand to other brands.
In the days before the internet era, celebrity endorsement was mainly limited to actors, athletes and entertainers, but with the rise of social media, ‘social influencers’ (who have gained popularity through online media) now also have an important influence on purchasing decisions of consumers. There is reason to believe that consumers are more skeptical about the recommendation of products by marketers than other independent internet users, but at the time of writing this study there were no direct comparisons between recommendations from social influencers and celebrities.
The analysis of purchasing decisions revealed a difference in the final choice for the brand depicted between recommendations from celebrities or social influencers. This is in line with earlier findings that influencer marketing campaigns with micro-influencers generally have a higher engagement rate and subsequently higher ROI than influencer marketing campaigns with mega-influencers such as celebrities.
Moreover, the results showed that brand advertisements have led to significantly more choices for the brand displayed, whether the recommendation took place via a brands own channel, celebrities or social influencers. Repeated exposure to a brand leads to increased purchasing decisions for that brand.
Online reviews via influencers
A different research conducted to gain insight into people’s online purchasing behavior shows that online reviews are incredibly important: no fewer than eight in ten millennials do not make a purchase without reading an online review. Looking at the size of the millennial generation and their share in online shopping, this is therefore an important part. According to research firm Nielson, 92% of consumers find the opinion of other consumers – including influencers – more reliable than information from a brand. Reviews from influencers are therefore even more valuable, since they have a large reach and therefore have a great influence on the purchasing process of consumers.