Whether you call it “influencer marketing,” “word of mouth marketing,” a “brand ambassador program” or simply a “blog,” across generations – Millennials, Gen X and Boomers – all confirm that blogs are their favorite type of content.
Blogs have become a favorite for marketers too. Influencer marketing has been rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search and paid search. Over 75% of brands are using influencers, and 84% plan to this year. According to Forrester Research, nearly 60% plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2016.
It’s no wonder. Over 80% of marketers have reported positive results from influencer marketing. A 2015 study by Burst Media, proved that advertisers gained an average of $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 they spent on influencer marketing. CPG advertisers earned $11.33, travel $7.04, retail and apparel $10.48 and grocery and supermarkets $4.80.
Just this week, Tapinfluence released the first study to directly link influencer marketing to sales results in a collaboration with Nielsen Catalina and WhiteWave. This groundbreaking, year-long study confirmed that influencer content generates 11X the ROI of a traditional marketing campaign ($23 vs. $2.15 for banner ads) for the CPG brand Silk “Meatless Mondays” campaign. The sales lift was $285 in incremental sales per 1,000 pageviews (vs. a display ad at $16/1,000 impressions).
Marketers are finding influencer marketing as cost-effective as email. They’ve also found that blogs are the most effective platform for influencer marketing (37%) followed by Facebook (25%), YouTube and Instagram (both at 6%).
An influencer program is a low-cost method that can deftly deliver 10% value or savings to a brand’s overall digital budget. Links to user-generated social posts account for 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands – the more mentions a brand has, the more relevancy they will gain in search.
In an over-saturated world, where 2/3rds of banner ads have zero impact, according to the Advertising Research Foundation, and over 30%+ of Americans are predicted to have adblockers already this year (Adobe), consumers are seeking out blogs for content at the right time in the right place. Blogs are immune to adblockers, and customer-contributed content has 12X more trust than brand-created descriptions. Bottom line – people trust people over brands.
Influencers create authentic, trusted, user-generated content, ideas, insights, credible recommendations and reviews to be consumed, engaged with, and shared. This content is evergreen, and will live on and continue to create value. It’s trackable and measurable.
Brands benefit from brand awareness, engagement, loyalty, a “halo” effect from the influencer, content virility, brand lift, sales, plus the original content can be repurposed and reused on the brand site, retail sites, in social media, in shopper materials, and more.
Blogs are a trusted source of reviews, which are paramount from consideration to conversion. 90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. McKinsey and Nielsen have determined that word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources are the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchase decisions. Word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Studies also show that offers shared by a trusted influencer or brand ambassador convert at a 4X-12X higher rate than offers shared by brands. WOM also results in a 37% higher retention rate. Over half of all marketers say influencer campaigns result in “better” customers.
Positive online recommendations are more important than price and brand in motivating consumer purchasing. A media study by Share This/Paley Center showed that content shared online can motivate people to spend 9.5% more. That translates to adding, on average, $3,700 to the price that a consumer is willing to pay for a vehicle, $27 to the price of a mini-tablet and $0.75 to the price of a typical supermarket item.
It should come as no surprise that the group contributing the most reviews are Boomers. 45% of all product reviews come from adults 50+, and their reviews tend to be a bit more positive (Bazaarvoice). Makes sense – they represent nearly 50% of the population, spend the most time online, account for 49% of online sales, and buy 51% of all consumer goods, 63% of automobiles, 80% of travel and outspend Millennials 2:1.
Marketers still say one of the main roadblocks to a successful campaign are the difficulties in connecting with influencers at scale. As the leading influencer network to reach women 45+, Vibrant Nation can help with that.
Consumers have put their trust in the opinion of their peers, and the voice of the consumer has become the most powerful tool a brand can have.
Here is a recap of the 10 reasons brands are driving results with blogs across generations – both Millennials and their moms:
10 Reasons Brands are Driving Results with Blogs
- Favorite content for all generations – Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.
- Fastest growing online acquisition channel.
- Earned Media Value: Average $6.85 for each $1 spent. CPG at $11.33. Travel at $7.04. Retail & Apparel at $10.48.
- Proven Sales Results: 11X ROI vs traditional campaign ($23 vs. $2).
- As cost effective as email marketing.
- Most effective influencer outlet –48% over Facebook, 600% over Instagram.
- Delivers a 25% boost in SEO.
- Beats “banner blindness,” bots and adblocking.
- Reviews & word of mouth are a must: 90% read online reviews and 80% trust them as much as personal recommendations. WOM generates 2X the sales of paid advertising, affects 20-50% of all purchase decisions, delivers a 37% higher retention rate, 4X-12X higher conversion rate for offers. Positive reviews can increase purchase price by 9.5%
- Blogs deliver truly engaging, trusted, authentic UGC, which is evergreen – content can be repurposed and reused, and it’s trackable and measurable.