New Study Reveals Social Proof Vital to Maintaining Growth in Shaky Economy

Recommendations from friends and family remain the most impactful form of brand endorsements, and their influence has only increased in the past ten years. In a new wave to its Social Recommendations Index, TINT, the leader in Community Powered Marketing, uncovered new insights in online brand advocacy tracked from 2013-2023.

Ninety-six percent of consumers say friends and family are the most trusted source for product recommendations, up from 86% in 2013. The impact of content creators has also increased to 62%, up from 39% in 2013 who were influenced by “bloggers” at the time.

The study found a recommendation from a friend who tried a product for free was still considered impactful and credible. However, the data indicated that trust in incentivized reviews by content creators has decreased. In 2023, 65% of consumers say they trust content creators who have received a free product to review, down from 76% in 2013 – reflecting a growing weariness of sponsored creator content.

“For brands looking to achieve authentic word-of-mouth online, the bread and butter will still be friends sharing with people they know,” says Sameer Kamat, CEO of TINT. “Consumers have only become more discerning about product recommendations with economic uncertainty on the horizon, and mobilizing and scaling everyday advocacy and reviews from real people is paramount to cut through the clutter and drive real conversion.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 76% consider online communities influential in product recommendations
  • Trust in product reviews shared on retail websites has increased 25% in the past ten years, from 63% in 2013 to 88% in 2023
  • Baby/Child is one of the top categories where reviews/recommendations are most influential
  • 96% of consumers say they conduct research after they discover a new product for the first time

Research was conducted via an online survey issued to the peer influencer community, Smiley360, by 4,045 U.S. respondents between December 14, 2022 – February 28, 2023.

Need to boost your word-of-mouth advocacy, Ratings & Reviews and user-generated content? TINT’s Community Powered Marketing platform makes it easy to harness your community of fans and consumers to share their brand love with friends and family.

Schedule a demo today.

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VP, Product Strategy