New research claims that social media influencers might have nearly as much clout as a friend or neighbor—and brands know how to harness these new household names.
According to a joint study by Twitter and analytics firm Annalect, around 40 percent of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube. Also, 20 percent of respondents said they shared something they saw from an influencer, while one-third of millennials say they follow a creator on Twitter or Vine.
A generation ago, marketers would put household names on the front of cereal boxes, said Twitter vp of market research and insights Jeffrey Graham. Now that online influencers can sell other products to anyone with a smartphone, household names have evolved into “handheld names”—people who are highly influential and well-known based on their social media presence.
“People are looking at their phones, they’re reading what influencers say and then they’re telling their friends,” Graham said in an interview with Adweek.
The results came from a two-part study between Twitter and Annalect. In order to study awareness, favorability, and purchase intent, the companies first surveyed more than 300 users to see how they responded toward brand influencers compared with their ad formats or suggestions from their friends. In a second phase, they studied how 500 users exposed to display ads and other traditional digital formats compared with watching a piece of content from an influencer.