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A Deep Dive into the Importance of Social Influence Report by Emplifi


A Deep Dive Into The Importance Of Social Influence: Report By Emplifi

When it comes to making the most informed purchase decision, today’s plugged-in consumers want to hear from real people. Authenticity in the form of brand messaging, customer service interactions, and real-life product reviews now have more influence than traditional advertising. In a recent report, Emplifi dives deep into the importance of social influence. Keep reading to learn more about what they found and what it means for brands and influencers.

The rise of social media and smartphones has completely changed the eCommerce game. In the past, brand interactions with customers were relatively one-sided through traditional paper, radio, and television advertisements. Today, customer reviews are even more influential than traditional advertising when it comes to consumer purchasing decisions. People look to real-life feedback and authentic social proof to feel confident that they made the right choice. 

Customer experience software firm Emplifi analyzed data around the importance of social influence in their recent report, Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer. Here, NetInfluencer covers some of the report’s key takeaways and their implications for brands and the influencer marketing space. 

Who Conducted the Survey?

Emplifi is a software company that “provides brands with insights needed to empathize with customers and amplify the right experiences.” Their customer experience (CX) platform “empowers brands to meet the fast-changing customer expectations across marketing, commerce, and care touchpoints.” Emplifi has worked with over 7,000 brands and they help their clients handle over 1 billion customer interactions per month. They’ve also been keeping the pulse on social media since its inception, with over 28 million social profiles monitored to date. 

The CEO of Emplifi is Mark Zablan, who has over 25 years of experience in executive roles within software as a service (SaaS) organizations. Before leading the team at Emplifi, Zablan was the Chief Revenue Officer at Sitecore, President of EMEA at Adobe, and Group President of Digital Marketing Services at Experian. Emplifi was founded in 2021 and is currently headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. 

Survey Methodology

Emplifi surveyed over 2,000 individuals aged 16 to 55 within the United States and the United Kingdom. The participants were consumers who are active on social media platforms and who regularly purchase products online. Emplifi’s report covers the following topics:

  • How and why customer ratings and reviews influence a consumer’s purchasing decisions
  • The most impactful types of social proof and where customers seek them out
  • The importance of product research and community-generated content across multiple generations (Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z). 

The goal of the report is to provide brands with the information they need to create an authentic eCommerce shopping experience for their ideal customers while fostering brand loyalty. 

Three Key Takeaways

1.  Customers want to see user-generated content. They look to people’s real life experiences with a product to help visualize what it would be like to own it themselves.

2. Customer reviews and ratings are the most influential factors when consumers research products online. However, customers also look for authenticity in a brand’s messaging. 

3. Authentic brand interactions impact the generations in different ways. However, Emplifi found no distinct differences between the way Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z shoppers research products.

What Does This Mean for Influencer Marketing?

The first takeaway demonstrates just how influential real-life customer feedback is when it comes to purchasing decisions. Emplifi found that 87% of consumers consider customer reviews to be the most authentic interaction they have with brands. As the infographic below illustrates, over half of surveyed consumers always or regularly research real-world reviews before making a purchase. Additionally, more than half also said they wouldn’t make a purchase from a brand without first checking the reviews.

In terms of influencer marketing, product review videos and demonstrations are more authentic forms of advertising than traditional ads. For example, an influencer who shoots a “get ready with me” video and demonstrates the latest makeup products may lead more customers to a purchase as opposed to an influencer who simply mentions the products. To take things a step further, influencers who answer questions about a brand’s product or service may even be more authentic than a traditional interaction with a brand’s customer service representative.

A Deep Dive Into The Importance Of Social Influence: Report By Emplifi

The second takeaway highlights the importance of authentic messaging. Being able to speak the customer’s language is essential for brands, as are authentic customer care experiences. Emplifi found that customers rely on authentic interactions with customer support almost as much as they value real-life customer reviews and feedback. They also found that shoppers visit multiple websites before making a purchase decision.

Brands who partner with influencers should provide content creation guidelines in their campaigns, but they may want to consider giving the influencer the right amount of freedom to ensure the content sounds authentic. While it’s important to stay “on brand”, the data suggests that the more authentic the messaging is, the more likely a customer is to commit to a purchase. 

A Deep Dive Into The Importance Of Social Influence: Report By Emplifi

The third takeaway shows the similarities among generations when it comes to the way each researches products before purchasing. However, each generation has unique expectations when it comes to customer support interactions and brand authenticity. Emplifi found that Generation X has the highest expectations in terms of high-quality customer service. They’re also more likely to take action after a positive experience. 

As the graphic suggests, Gen Z places considerably less value on traditional customer service interactions than older generations. This is most likely due to their reliance on social media and influencers for information about products and services. To ensure the most authentic experience possible, brands should take generational differences into account while creating campaigns and consider their target audience’s preferences by age range.

A Deep Dive Into The Importance Of Social Influence: Report By Emplifi

Overall, Emplifi’s data shows that customers crave authenticity and look to feedback from real customers before making a purchase decision. Brands who leverage the power of authenticity are likely to benefit in the form of higher sales conversions and customer satisfaction ratings. 

Link to the Report

The Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer report can be found on Emplifi’s website, along with additional insights and research reports on customer engagement, marketing, and eCommerce.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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