Double Your Sales With Influencer Marketing

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The world has changed. Social media and e-commerce have given rise to a new kind of consumer i.e. the Smart Shopper. Instead of looking at companies to provide information, the Smart Shopper looks up to peers and friends to provide first-hand insights. Each time consumer refers to an online review, even when shopping offline, we see the power of influencer marketing. We all know influencer marketing is harnessing the power of first-person insights to dramatically influence purchase decisions. The big question is how effective is influencer marketing.

Influencer Marketing Works

A recent study by McKinsey has shown that consumer has higher trust in word-of-mouth than in traditional advertising. And, this is especially true in developing world. The study clearly indicated that marketing induced consumer word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. At each step of the conversion funnel i.e. from consideration to evaluation to purchase, word-of-mouth had a higher weight than any other driver.

Further, the study claims that the customers acquired via word-of-mouth had 37% higher retention rate. And, customers were 50 times more likely to commit to purchasing if the recommendation came from a friend. Amazing facts.

These findings have huge significance for the Middle East region. In Arab culture, where word-of-mouth carries more trust than the written word, a well-timed and seeming innocent review or mention at the right place can have a huge impact on sales of a brand.

Word-Of-Mouth Is Undergoing Paradigm Shift

Word-of-mouth is undergoing a paradigm shift and the proof is in our hands. A study by Marketing Profs highlights two great insights

  1. Some 59% of women consumers check online reviews of products on their mobile phone for shopping in a retail setting. While out and about, 26% most often check reviews from their smartphone, and 18% check from their tablets.
  2. And 70% of consumers consider themselves extremely/very discerning in deciding whether to trust a specific online review, and 94% say they can spot a trustworthy reviewer.

Source: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/28829/seven-dramatic-ways-e-commerce-reviews-have-transformed-consumer-shopping-habits

It is a well-known fact that mobile connection subscriptions and broadband internet are hugely popular amongst Gulf countries residents. But exactly how popular is popular. Some quick stats

  • On an average Gulf countries residents carry two connection per person.
  • Mobile connection penetration rates are 1.5 and 1.8 times more than that of Us, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Japan and South Korea
  • Smartphone penetration is around 126% compared to 71% in developed countries
  • Almost whole of GCC is covered by 3G network
  • Mobile broadband penetration in Gulf countries is around 120% which is significantly higher than Western Europe and North American nations (94%)

Source: Various

When the above two sets of insights i.e. technology penetration and consumer behavior are read in conjunction with each other, the implications for marketing community are clear – no company can afford not to harness the power of influencer marketing.

Threat of the Ad Blockers

Ad-blocking technology has been around since 2009. It took off big time in 2012 when it started appearing as an add-on extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Before the ad-blocking technology went mainstream, the consumer had no option but to look at all the advertising appearing on their screens. Advertisers were using the internet as an advertising channel.

Ad-blocking technology has changed the rules of the game. The consumer has an option and the consumer is using this option. Two studies show how big the threat of ad blockers is to the marketing world.

A 2016 PageFair Mobile Ad Blocking Report reported some staggering numbers

  • At least 419 million people (22% of the world’s 1.9bn smartphone users) are blocking ads on the mobile web.
  • Both mobile web and in-app ads can now be blocked.
  • As of March 2016 an estimated 408 million people are actively using mobile ad-blocking browsers (i.e., a mobile browser that blocks ads by default).
  • As of March 2016 there are 159 million users of mobile ad-blocking browsers in China, 122 million in India, and 38 million in Indonesia.
  • As of March 2016 in Europe and North America there were 14 million monthly active users of mobile ad-blocking browsers.
  • A further 4.9 million content blocking and in-app ad-blocking apps were downloaded from the app stores in Europe and North America since September 2014

The above numbers are scary. A very broad conclusion can be that the paid advertising is not reaching 22% of the intended target audience.

The situation is not going to get any better. A recent study by prestigious Reuters Institute amongst 50,000 respondents across 26 countries globally indicated that consumer adoption of ad blocking technology would continue to rise. Almost one-third of the respondents planned to install ad blocking technology on their mobile phones in foreseeable future.

Influencer Marketing – The Best Option

In the face of growing consumer apathy towards paid advertising, influencer marketing remains the best bet for the companies. It is relatively low cost, discreet and when done well can lead to doubling of sales.

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