The online study surveyed 8014 web users aged 16-54 in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK with the aim of helping marketers produce greater synergy between media, social and mobile budgets by figuring out the role that consumer influence plays along the path to purchase.
The top 10 per cent of influencers have a significantly disproportionate influence, according to the study. A "massive" 72 per cent of the people in this "Top 10" access content across print, PC and mobile more than once a day, compared to just 18 per cent of the bottom 10 per cent of influencers. The Top 10 constituents are also more likely to own smartphones and tablet computers.
Importantly for marketers, an "incredible" 99 per cent of the Top 10 reported that their friends ask their opinion before making important purchases, compared with just 13 per cent of the Bottom 10.
The Top 10 are also far more likely to research or talk about forthcoming purchases online using social and mobile. Over all, the researchers report that the Top 10 have five times the social reach of the Bottom 10.
“While seeding messages with influential consumers is not a new concept, our research revealed that the rewards for marketers targeting the right consumers in the right way are now much greater than before," the study authors wrote.
The study also detailed the extent to which the Top 10 influencers network better than their peers in the bottom 10 per cent of influencers. The Top 10 members reported outscoring the Bottom 10 by significant factor in three different categories of acquaintances, from those they see face-to-face but never online, to those they interact with solely online (see the graphic above).
In addition to targeting the top influencers, according to the study, marketers should:
- "Go far beyond the 30-second spot and create additional content, such as behind the scenes footage, historical timelines and cultural associations. These will drive discussions and provide a link to brand discovery."
- "Enlist a team of brand and category relevant social influencers to preview new products and campaigns, stimulate dialogue and disseminate content along the path to purchase."