Marketing might be busy going after traditional outlets like paid search and organic traffic, but a powerful strategy that can’t be ignored is word-of-mouth marketing.
Think about all the times a friend, family member, or co-worker recommended a product or service to you and how that may have influenced your buying decision or perception of a brand.
It happens more often than you may realize.
That’s why businesses must focus on word-of-mouth and more marketing teams must prioritize how to influence this channel.
We compiled a list of 30+ word-of-mouth marketing statistics to help you better grasp the influence it can have on both your brand and revenue.
What Is Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is when people gain interest in your brand, product, or services through their peers’ influence. This can occur in person or online, but it’s essentially free marketing by those who’ve had great experiences with your company.
People trust information and recommendations from their friends, family, and co-workers, which you’ll see in the data below. And when your company provides a top-notch experience, customers will speak positively about your brand.
The challenge for many markets or executive leaders is that word-of-mouth marketing isn’t always easy to measure directly.
It’s technically part of the “dark funnel” where people are influenced by word-of-mouth first. They then come to your site directly or through another measurable medium. However, their first touchpoint was actually through a friend or colleague.
Now, let’s get into the word-of-mouth stats you need to know.
30+ Powerful Word-of-Mouth Statistics
Since there are plenty of statistics around word-of-mouth, we wanted to break this up into more digestible sections.
Below, you’ll clearly see the importance of word-of-mouth marketing within your company’s marketing strategy.
General Word-of-Mouth Statistics
Let’s start with some general word-of-mouth marketing stats that’ll set the foundation for the value of this channel.
- 90% of people trust suggestions from family and friends. [HubSpot]
- 70% of people trust consumer reviews online. [HubSpot]
- 72% of people get news from friends and family, making word-of-mouth the most popular channel for sharing. [Pew Research Center]
- 68% of people trust online opinions from other consumers, which places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information. [Nielsen]
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. [BrightLocal]
- Consumers discuss specific brands casually 90x per week. [HubSpot]
- On social media, 58% of consumers share their positive experiences with a company, and ask family, colleagues, and friends for their opinions about brands. [SDL]
- Brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive 3x as much word-of-mouth as less emotionally connected brands. The same academic study also found that highly differentiated brands earn more positive word-of-mouth. [Journal of Marketing Research]
- 64% of Word of Mouth Marketing Association survey respondents mostly or completely agree that word-of-mouth marketing is more effective than traditional marketing. [WOMMA]
- 50% of marketers have incorporated word-of-mouth marketing into their traditional marketing campaigns. [WOMMA]
- Recommendations are one of the top five influences on brand decisions before consumers go shopping. [Nielsen]
- Millennials are 115% more influenced by word-of-mouth than traditional advertising. [Chatter Matters]
- 83% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust word-of-mouth recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services, making these recommendations the highest-ranked source for trustworthiness. [Nielsen]
- 92% of global consumers trust UGC and WOM more than advertising. [Jay Baer]
- Marketers rated the quality of a word-of-mouth lead to be 4.28 on the 5 point scale. [Referral Rock]
- 85% of small businesses agree that word-of-mouth recommendations brought them the most consumers. [Writers Block]
Word-of-Mouth Statistics: Impact
Wondering what kind of impact word-of-mouth marketing actually has on your business? Here are some stats that demonstrate the true power of this strategy.
- 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making buying decisions. [USM]
- 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influence in purchasing decisions. [Ogilvy Cannes]
- 56% of B2B purchasers look to offline word-of-mouth as a source of information and advice. This number jumps to 88% when online word-of-mouth sources are included. [BaseOne]
- Word-of-mouth improves marketing effectiveness by up to 54%. [MarketShare]
- When specific case studies were analyzed, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth (both online and offline) translated into a sales lift between 0.2 – 1.5%. [MarketShare/ Keller Fay Group]
- 84% of consumers report always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations. [Nielsen]
- 70% of consumers report always or sometimes taking action based on online consumer opinions. [Nielsen]
- 43% of social media users report buying a product after sharing or favoriting it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. [VisionCritical]
- 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchasing decisions. [Twitter]
- More than half of purchases inspired by social media sharing occur within a week of sharing or favoriting, while 80% of purchases resulting from social media shares occur within 3 weeks of sharing. [VisionCritical]
- 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase when referred to by social media. [HubSpot]
- Millennials ranked word-of-mouth as the #1 influencer in their purchasing decisions about clothes, packaged goods, big-ticket items (like travel and electronics), and financial products. Baby Boomers also ranked word-of-mouth as being most influential in their purchasing decisions about big-ticket items and financial products. [Radius Global]
- 81% of people say they’re influenced by what their friends share on social media. [Market Force]
- 77% of brand conversations on social media are people looking for advice, information, or help. [Mention]
- 85% of website visitors find visual user-generated content more influential than brand photos or videos. [AdWeek]
- 70% of marketers plan to increase their online WOMM spend, and 29% will increase their offline word-of-mouth marketing spend. [WOMMA]
- 82% of brands use word-of-mouth marketing to increase their brand awareness, but 43% expect word-of-mouth marketing to improve their direct sales. [WOMMA]
- Friend referrals make consumers four times more likely to make the purchasing move. [referral marketing statistics]
As you can see from these word-of-mouth marketing statistics, word-of-mouth is a powerful form of marketing.
Here are some quick tips to help you improve your word of mouth marketing:
- Chat with your top customers and nurture them.
- Ask how you can ensure the BEST experience for every customer.
- Gather online reviews and respond to both the positive and negative ones.
- Start an employee advocacy program to motivate employees to create and share on the company’s behalf
- Create a customer advocacy program to reward and further educate customers.
- Be active on social media to drive awareness, engage in customer conversations, and share content from employees and customers.
- Provide value in everything you do and educate your audience. When you solve customers’ problems and entertain them, trust in your brand grows and more people will talk positively about it.