Influencers Significantly Drive Purchasing Decisions: Research


In addition to a rising trust in influencers, the new report from Sprout Social shows nearly half of consumers make a purchase at least once a month because of influencers

Influencers have cemented themselves as key components of modern marketing strategies, and new research reveals the significant power they have in directly shaping consumer purchasing behaviors. According to The 2024 Influencer Marketing Report released today by Sprout Social, an industry-leading provider of cloud-based social media management software, 49% of all consumers make daily, weekly, or monthly purchases because of influencer posts, with 30% trusting influencers more today than they did just six months ago.

The report surveyed 2,000 consumers and 300 influencers to uncover their influencer marketing perspectives today and predict how the landscape will evolve in the future.

The findings illustrate how influencers are highly trusted catalysts of buying decisions, but their revenue impact becomes even greater when considering the preferences of Gen Z, whose buying power is quickly growing. Gen Z consumers reportedly trust influencers at a higher rate and are more likely to make daily or weekly purchases compared to other consumers. In addition, 87% of Gen Z consumers are more willing to buy from brands that partner with influencers outside of just social media content, giving influencers the opportunity to expand into brand spokesperson roles that have typically been held by actors, athletes, and celebrities.

“Trust is a priceless commodity that every brand must build in order to compete in a market where consumers have seemingly endless purchasing options,” said Scott Morris, CMO of Sprout Social. “Our research makes it clear that influencers are not only viable but necessary partners to tap into consumer trust, especially among younger generations. Brands who put influencers at the core of their overall strategies, on and off social, will reap the benefits as the influencer economy grows in tandem with consumer trust.”

In addition to driving purchases, the report highlights the unique role influencers also play in customer care. Gen Z and frequent purchasers say they’re more likely to share product feedback with influencers than with the brands they bought from, so customer service teams will need to operate in lockstep with influencers moving forward. This rich customer engagement combined with the rising level of trust means influencers can be invaluable partners and channels for customer feedback, helping brands pivot in real-time and grow long-term.

Additional key findings include:

  • Consumer attitudes toward AI influencers: The rise of generative AI has led to the birth of AI-generated influencers. Attitudes toward virtual influencers are equally split; 37% of consumers would be more interested in a brand that uses an AI influencer, while the same amount say they’d be more distrustful of a brand. The remaining 27% say they’re indifferent and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between AI and human influencers.
  • Platforms consumers use to connect with influencers most: Consumers are most likely to engage with influencer content on Instagram, where influencers are also most active. However, platform preferences vary greatly by age. Gen Z consumers are more likely to engage with influencer content on TikTok than any other generation. For Gen X and Baby Boomers, Facebook ranks as their top platform for influencer engagement, followed by Instagram and YouTube, respectively.
  • Types of influencer content consumers engage with most: 64% of consumers are most likely to engage with genuine and unbiased influencer reviews, and 55% say access to a discount or promo codes makes them more likely to seek out influencer content.
  • Influencer marketing topics consumers care about: Across the board, consumers are most interested in food and drink (30%) and beauty (26%) influencer content, but there are some differences in preference by age. Millennial and Gen Z consumers are more interested in fitness and gaming, while Gen X consumers prefer movies/TV and sports content at a greater rate than younger audiences.

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