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Word of Mouth and Brand Advocates Stats
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Social recommendations are today’s most powerful marketing asset. Below you will find key statistics that highlight the impact social recommendations, customer advocacy and word-of-mouth have in today’s digital world.

Brand Army
An Army of Advocates

There are more than 60 million Brand Advocates in the US and billions worldwide, creating a virtual Army of Advocates.

  1. 62% of Word of Mouth is positive. (Source: Keller Fay Group, May 2006)
  2. 76% of consumers recommended companies they trust to a friend or colleague. (Source: Edelman)
  3. Positive Word of Mouth outpaces negative by a 6 to 1 ratio. (Source: Keller Fay TalkTrack*, 2009)
  4. The #1 reason Brand Advocates recommend brands and products is that they want to help others. (58%) Other reasons include: they would want to know before they buy (53%), help others make smarter purchase decisions (47%), and feeling connected to other people (33%). Getting promotional discounts was not cited at all by Brand Advocates as a motivation for recommending brands and products. (Source: “Engaging Advocates rough Search and Social Media,” Comscore, Yahoo!, Dec. 2006)
  5. A company’s loyal customers (the ones whose lifetime value is the highest) are not its most valuable ones, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review. A company’s most valuable customers are customers who are both excellent buyers and marketers (they bring in a lot of referrals). (Source: “How Valuable is Word of Mouth?” V. Kumar, J. Peterson, R. Leone, Harvard Business Review, 2007)
  6. 36% of US adults, age 18 and over, give advice about purchases. (Source: BIGresearch SIMM, December 15, 2009)
  7. 76% of Americans talk about brands in a typical day. An average of 10 brands are mentioned everyday and 70% of brand mentions include a recommendation. (Source: MediaVest Keller Fay Group Study, 2008)
  8. 72% of adults who “had a memorable product purchase, use, or service experience” said they took positive action with 57% communicating about their positive experience with others, and 41% recommending that someone make a purchase. (Source: Harris Interactive, March 2009)
  9. Worldwide, 80% of consumers recommend at least one brand. One average, each Brand Advocate recommends 4 brands. (Source: GfK Roper, 2006) (Note: this research was completed before the rise of social media.)
  10. The average number of brands that consumers “really like, use, and recommend” increased significantly from 2004 to 2006 in all regions of the world included in the study: North America, Western Europe, Developed Asia and Developing Asia, Latin America, and Central Europe. (Source: GfK Roper, 2006)
The Power of Brand Advocates

Consumers trust Brand Advocates more than marketers.

  1. 92% of consumers trust “recommendations from people I know.” Only 37% trust search engine ads, and just 24% trust online banner ads. (Source: Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, July 2009)
  2. 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know, and 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Source: Econsultancy, July 2009)
  3. A Word of Mouth recommendation is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. (Source: McKinsey Quarterly, April 2010)
  4. A whopping 68% of Facebook users say a recommendation from a Facebook Friend would make them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer. (Source: Morpace Omnibus Report, Morpace, April 2010)
  5. 83% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their purchase decisions. (Source: Opinion Research Corp., June 2008)
  6. Brand Advocates are two to three times more effective than non-Advocates in persuading others to purchase recommended brands. (Source: Comscore, Yahoo!, December 2006)
  7. “Marketers may spend millions of dollars on elaborately conceived advertising campaigns, yet often what really makes up a consumer’s mind is not only simple but also free: a Word of Mouth recommendation from a trusted source.” (Source: McKinsey Quarterly, April 2010)
  8. There are 500 billion Word of Mouth impressions on the social web each year in the US. Each time a consumer posts content on the social web it reaches 150 people. (Source: Forrester, Peer Influence Analysis, April 2010)
  9. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, customers who participate in a referral program will typically refer four customers. The study pointed out that these numbers under-estimate true referral value. Referred customers make their own referrals in turn, and credit for these should be traced back to the original referring customer. (Source: “How Valuable is Word of Mouth?”, V. Kumar, J. Peterson, R. Leone, Harvard Business Review, 2007)
  10. Therefore, a company with 100,000 energized Brand Advocates can reach 60 million people - (100,000 Advocates x 150 people x 4 recommendations per year = 60 million) (Source: Zuberance via Forrester Peer Influence Analysis)
The Value of Brand Advocates
  1. Brand Advocates are at least 5x more valuable than average customers because they spend and recommend more than average customers. (Source: Zuberance)
  2. Brand Advocates spend 2x more than average customers and recommend or share 2 to 4 times more than an average customer. (Source: Deloitte, March 2010)
  3. A 12% increase in Brand Advocacy, on average, generates a 2x increase in revenue growth rate plus boosts market share (Source: “The Ultimate Question, Driving Good Profits and True Growth,” Fred Reichheld, HBS Press)
  4. Brand Advocates are more likely to repurchase after recommending brands and products. Seventy-six percent of Brand Advocates said they were more likely to repurchase themselves after recommending a brand or product, and 79% said they would be more likely to repurchase in the future. (Source: the Harris Poll, June 2009)
  5. Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate. (Source: Deloitte)
Active Brand Advocates

Brand Advocates are active recommenders.

  1. Advocates tell twice as many people about their purchases than non-Advocates. (Source: Comscore, Yahoo!, December 2006)
  2. There are 3.5 billion brand-related conversations each day in the US; 62% of these conversations are positive. (Source: Keller Fay Group, November 2007)
  3. 40% of Brand Advocates said they “answer, comment, or give an opinion online” several times a week. (Source: Comscore, Yahoo!, December 2006)
  4. On average, about 50% of a company’s Advocates become “Energized Advocates” within 12 months; they pro-actively recommend the brand or product by creating, sharing, and/or publishing reviews, testimonials, answers, offers, or more using advocacy tools provided by Zuberance. (Source: Zuberance)
  5. The average consumer in the US makes 17 recommendations per week (source: “Global Message Multipliers,” The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, and MediaVest, 2009)
  6. 46% of social media users say they would talk about or recommend a brand or product on Facebook. (Source: Performics)
  7. 1 in 5 Tweets is brand-related. (Source: Penn State University, September 2009)
  8. Over 90% off Facebook users say being a fan of a brand has had a positive impact on their recommendations to friends. 49% of Facebook users would “certainly” recommend the brand since they became a fan, while 43% said they would “probably” recommend it. (Source: OpinionWay)
  9. 36% of YouTube users said learning about a brand on a social network site prompted them to visit an eCommerce site. (Source: Performics)
  10. 76% of Word of Mouth conversations take place in person. (Source: Keller Fay, Yahoo)
Brand Advocates in Key Verticals

The top 12 categories for positive Word of Mouth conversations among US Internet users, by product category, are: food and dining (73%), personal care and beauty (72%), beverages (72%), household products (71%), media and entertainment (71%), shopping, retail, and apparel (70%), travel services (67%), technology (63%), automotive (61%), health and healthcare (53%), financial services (51%), and telecom (51%). (Source: Keller Fay Group, “Unleashing the Power of Word of Mouth,” Aug. 2010)

Fitness

  1. 45% of Club One Fitness’s members purchased memberships as a result of a referral from a Club One Advocate (Source: Club One Fitness, July 2010)
  2. 15% of Advocate-shared offers have resulted in sales for 24-Hour Fitness. (Source: Zuberance)
  3. 24% of Club One Fitness Advocates shared offers with their social networks. (Source: Zuberance customer data.)

Software

  1. 54% of customers of a security software company are Brand Advocates. (Source: Company Data)
  2. References from a company’s customers (i.e. Brand Advocates) are the most influential marketing activity in influencing an IT buyer’s preference to purchase from one type of IT provider over another (Source: Gartner, August 2010)
  3. 25% of new customers said the primary reason they chose Dell was a referral. So 1 million of the 4 million new customers Dell acquired in 2003 came from positive Word of Mouth (Source: “The Ultimate Question, Driving Good Profits and True Growth,” Fred Reichheld, HBS Press)
  4. One Advocate for a business software company is worth $565,000. (Source: “Answering the Ultimate Question,” R. Owen & L. Brooks, Ph.D.)
  5. 44% of Brand Advocates for a leading software company published reviews to a shopping site using Zuberance’s Advocate Ratings & Reviews app (Source: Zuberance Customer Data)
  6. Norton, the consumer brand of security software leader Symantec, increased sales on Amazon.com by $26 million after it started energizing Norton Advocates powered by Zuberance (Source: “Activating Word of Mouth Through Social Technologies,” Forrester, Jan. 2010)

Consumer Electronics

  1. A leading consumer electronics manufacturer quadrupled its star rating on a major shopping site in less than one month after energizing its Brand Advocates (Source: Zuberance customer data)
  2. It costs a consumer electronics company $160 to acquire a subscriber via traditional marketing methods. It costs the company $24 to acquire a customer via Word of Mouth marketing. (Source: Zuberance analysis)
  3. A consumer electronics company generated a 5% sales conversion rate, about 10X higher than its typical conversion rates, by enabling its Brand Advocates to share a video about a major new product with their social networks. (Source: Zuberance customer data, 2010)
  4. 69% of customers of a consumer electronics company are Brand Advocates. (Source: Company Data)
  5. 50% of consumers say Word of Mouth was a key influencer for car, technology, and electronic product purchases they made in the past year. (Source: S. Radoff Associates, Dec. 2010)
  6. A consumer electronics company is getting 5% conversions to sales and boosting ratings on shopping sites by energizing its Brand Advocates, 10X higher than conversion rates for traditional marketing programs. (Source: Zuberance Customer Data)
  7. Brand Advocates for a mobile phone manufacturer generated 764 reviews in less 9 than 48 hours. The average star rating for these reviews was a 4.6 out of 5 star. (Source: Zuberance Customer Data)
  8. In about four months, Brand Advocates for Ooma, a provider of a VOIP device, wrote over 2,000 reviews and shared more than 2,300 offers with their social networks, resulting in more than 1,800 in-bound clicks.

Hotels: (Travel & Leisure)

  1. 77% of travelers say online reviews influence their purchase decisions. (Source: Deloitte)
  2. A Brand Advocate for a hotel is worth $3,000. (Source: Zuberance analysis, October 2010)
  3. 68% of opted-in Brand Advocates for HomeAway, a leading vacation rental site, have answered prospects’ questions using Zuberance’s Advocate Answers app. (Source: Zuberance customer data, Dec. 2010)
  4. Brand Advocates for a boutique hotel created 652 reviews in less than three months. The average star rating of these reviews was a 4.5 out of 5 star. (Source: Zuberance customer data)
  5. 96% of Brand Advocates for a leading budget motel using Zuberance’s Advocate Reviews and Ratings clicked to publish reviews on a leading travel site. (Source: Zuberance Customer Data.)
  6. In about three months, a boutique hotel saw its ratings on TripAdvisor jump from 3 stars to 4.25 stars after energizing its Brand Advocates. (Source: Zuberance Customer Data)
  7. Travelers are nearly 4x more likely to book a guest room from a hotel with a five- star rating than a hotel with a three-star rating. (Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey, 2009)

Restaurants

  1. Restaurants (along with books) are the top category of products and services that people share opinions about using the web (Source: North American Technographics empowerment Online Survey, Q4 2009, US, Forrester Research)
  2. Chili’s Grill & Bar has energized over 150,000 Brand Advocates who have generated over 75,000 positive reviews with an average star rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. (Source: Zuberance Case Study)
  3. In about eight months, over 50,000 friends of Chili’s Brand Advocates have signed up for Chili’s email newsletter (Source: Zuberance Customer Data)
Brand Advocacy by Demographic

Women

  • 50% of women with social network profiles purchased products because of information they got from friends or companies on social networking sites. (Source: 2nd Annual Social Media Study, Oct. 2009, SheSpeaks)

Millennials

  • Compared to other age groups, Millennials (people with birth dates between the mid-1970s to the early 2000s) are especially active Brand Advocates. People between 25 and 34 (33.7%), and between 18 and 24 (32.6%) most often proactively recommend that someone make a particular purchase (source: PostRelease survey conducted by Synovate, Jan. 2010)

Moms

  1. In shopping, retail, and apparel, 69% of new moms and pregnant women are likely to purchase based on a Word of Mouth recommendation. (Source: BabyCenter and Keller Fay Group, April 2008)
  2. 81% of US moms who are Internet users said Word of Mouth influences their purchase decisions, second only to in-store promotions at 86% (i.e., the product was on a special sale.) Word of Mouth was more than 4x more influential than online banner ads (18%), and email advertising (26%). (Source: EXPO Purchaser Influencer Survey, Nov. 2009, published on eMarketer.)

Hispanics

  • Hispanic consumers are more active users of social media than non-Hispanics. Compared with non-Hispanics, Hispanics have cultural values that are much more centered on family, friends, and social connections, which makes social media a natural fit for this segment. Hispanics are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanics to be content Creators (47%) or Critics (41%), consumers who rate and review products, post comments on others’ blogs, participate in discussion forums and collaborate on Wikis. (Source: “Social Media is Mainstream for Online Hispanics,” Forrester, March 2010)

What is a Brand Advocate?

Brand Advocates are highly satisfied customers and others who pro-actively recommend brands and products without being paid to do so, simply because they believe in your product or brand. They aren’t necessarily loyal customers as today’s marketers tend to define loyalty based on frequency and lifetime value (basically how often they buy and how much they buy). The value of an Advocate should be measured based on the impact they have on your business which may not always be direct purchases but may be how much they recommend your brand to others.

The Marketing Power of Brand Advocates