According to the 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker released back in August, four-out-of-five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase based solely on negative information they found online from the social customer.
This is up from just 67 percent of consumers who said the same thing in 2010. Additionally, positive information has a similar effect on consumer decision making, with 87 percent of consumers agreeing a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase. However, the survey suggests that negative information is gaining traction and is now just as powerful in tipping the scales against a recommended purchase.
Additionally, customers are viewing blogs as a credible source of information when researching products and services online. This is up almost 20 points from 2010.
What’s interesting to note here is that only 8 percent of consumers say a source is trustworthy and credible when “he/she has a lot of social media followers”. Of course, recognized experts with product/service expertise are the most trustworthy online resources. This certainly makes sense for high value products like televisions or new vehicle purchases.
The net net of this is data is that the social customer’s opinion matters a great deal! And, whether they know it or not, they are aiding and influencing other customers (or not) down the purchase funnel simply through organic conversations about the experiences they have with products and services.
Americans are nearly 25 percent more likely to verify recommendations for high-cost purchases, such as cars, today than they were in 2010 (89% today vs. 72%), while moderate- and low-cost purchases did not experience the same jump.
Lastly, consumers spend time online verifying a product or service recommendation for a variety of reasons. At the top of the list is when they will own that product for several years.
There are two key takeaways of this study:
- Brands need to create kick ass product that add some level of emotional or utility value.
- Brands need to make a strategic attempt at transforming the social customer into a brand advocate.