Consumers Ascribe Greater Purchase Influence to Peers Than Ads

February 21, 2020

Horowitz Very Important Purchase Influencers Feb2020Recommendations from friends and family have always ranked as one of the biggest influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions, as have online reviews. Horowitz’s most recent report, concerning the State of Consumer Engagement, provides more such evidence of the power of peers.

Almost half (48%) of the US adults surveyed for the report say that online reviews of products that have been purchased and tested by others are a very important factor in deciding whether or not to purchase a product. Indeed, it appears that consumers place even more importance on reviews from verified users than they do on professional reviews (40%).

Word of mouth is also of high importance, with almost half (46%) of the survey’s respondents indicating that the opinions of their friends and family figure prominently in their decisions.

Video marketing – a hot topics these days when it comes to purchase influence – also has clout, according to consumers, though not to quite as widespread extent. About one-third consider video reviews or unpacking videos (33%) or videos of the product produced by the company that makes and/or sells it (32%) to be very influential in their purchase decisions.

Meanwhile, close to one-quarter (23%) say they feel that what a salesperson or customer service representative tells them is very important.

Where Are Ads Effective?

In context, ads appear relatively unimportant to consumers: slightly fewer than 3 in 10 (28%) respondents report that they find ads they see for a product or service to be a very important factor in purchasing decisions. That’s well below the influence ascribed to word-of-mouth and reviews, for example.

But where do consumers feel advertising is most effective? For 42% of consumers, ads in live TV shows are the most effective for them, while more than one-third (36%) find emails to be the most effective advertising tactic. Marketing Charts’ own primary research indicates that opt-in emails and TV ads carry plenty of sway with consumers, influencing the purchases of more than 1 in 5 consumers in the past 6 months (21% and 20.3%, respectively).

The influence on purchases that live TV ads have appears to decrease with younger consumers. Per the report, 55% of respondents age 50 and older say they feel TV ads are most effective for them, while only 42% of consumers between 35-49 years old and 26% of those 18-34 years say the same.

Although few consumers say that they enjoy advertising on any platform, more are okay with ads on traditional TV (51%) than on free (46%) or paid (28%) streaming services. As relates to acceptance of advertising, respondents between 35 and 49 year olds report being most receptive to ads when watching content on traditional TV (68%) or via free (67%) or subscription (56%) services.

Some 47% of respondents also say they dislike seeing ads when watching short videos online with 3 in 5 (58%) saying they press “skip ad” as soon as they can on a pre-roll ad. But, it’s worth keeping in mind that even though consumers tend to avoid ads when they can, good ads often get shared. About one-third (32%) of respondents say they frequently or occasionally share ads they enjoy with others.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an online survey of 1,404 US adults (18+) fielded in September 2019.


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