Consumers need to see at least three branded influencer posts before seeking more information, and five such posts to make a purchase says new report.


Regular readers know well my pet peeve on the conflation of influencer advertising and influencer marketing. The former is often associated with BANJO influencers - those prepared to ‘Bang Another iNfluencer Job Out’ in return for quick money with scant regard for the sponsoring brand or their own audience.

New research by social media marketing company, Hello Society, puts some numbers behind my vexation. 

“Consumers need to see at least three branded posts from social influencers before they seek more information about an endorsed product, and five such posts to make a purchase,” writes Robert Williams in a Mobile Marketer article covering the survey.

Respondents were more than three times as likely to follow an influencer on social media than to follow a brand directly, indicating the ability of influencers to better reach consumers. The good news for communicators is that 82% of people who like influencer content said they have made a purchase as a result of an influencer.

The Hello Society findings for influencer marketing’s effective frequency is close to the ad man’s rule of seven - the heuristic whereby prospects need to consume an advertising message at least seven times before they'll take steps to buy the product or service. 

I suspect the magic number for action is, in reality, far higher today. We are bombarded by many thousands of brand messages at every waking moment that a higher number to cut through the clutter is inevitable - surely.  

Influencer marketing is front-loaded

It is not only consumer action which should drive brands towards building longer-term relationships with influencers. Much of the costs associated with influencer marketing are front-loaded. These costs centre around the selection, vetting and recruitment phase of an influencer marketing partnership. 

Finding the most appropriate influencers for a brand to work with requires third-party tools to do the heavy lifting and contextual intelligence from the influencer marketer to vet the influencer. 

Checks for potential influencer fraud need to be made. Contracts and creative briefs take time and professional expertise to be drawn up. Once you have undertaken this resource-heavy series of processes doesn’t it make firm fiscal sense to work long-term with chosen influencers?

There’s a third cost saving to be had, too. Often the price for a one-off activation will be considerably higher proportionally than working with an influencer across multiple activations over a longer period. 

Editor's note

According to Mobile Marketer Hello Society surveyed more than 500 social media users who said they have an affinity for influencer content. I don't know where the social media users were based geographically. Neither do know how the questions were formulated. To qualify, for sampling you needed to hold an affinity for influencer content. This suggests the answers were always going to be positively skewed.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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