The Consumer Journey: From Social Media Influencers to The Shopping Cart

Thursday Sep 6th, 2018

The Customer Journey From Social Media Influencers to The Shopping Cart

It’s no secret that marketing is changing. With new technology comes innovative ways of shopping online, groundbreaking methods of advertising, and cutting-edge Point of Sale (POS) systems for in-store purchases. Yet, even with all that technology, people still trust other people more than they do a brand.

While the omnipresence of the World Wide Web has allowed businesses to blast consumers with ads, it also provides a tool for people to do their research before making a purchase. This due diligence has added a whole new chapter in the consumer journey—and it’s at this exact stage where influencers can perfectly complement your marketing strategy.

Old versus New Consumer Journey

In order to fully understand the new customer journey and why influencers are so vital to a modern-day marketing campaign, we need to review the behavior of consumers in the past. If we take it back to the supposed “Golden Age of Advertising,” the methods of marketing were minimal; essentially, there were hard copy adverts (magazine ads, flyers, brochures, etc.), radio ads, and television commercials.

According to TVTango, the channel list in the sixties was generally limited to ABC, CBS, NBC, and sometimes the BBC. Interestingly, Buffalo History found that there were about 45,750,000 households with TVs at this time.

Think about what that means for a moment: there were potentially 15 million families laser-focused on a specific channel, every night. Reaching your audience in the sixties was like shooting fish in a barrel. Moreover, there wasn’t a good way for consumers to research the products they saw on TV. Because of this, consumers mainly converted because they either liked what they saw or asked a friend or family member for their thoughts on a product.

Nowadays, the average consumer’s focus is divided among dozens (if not hundreds) of new channels—and we’re not just talking TV. Marketers can advertise in apps, in search engine results pages (SERPs), on websites, and on social media.

However, how can a brand stand out when according to the American Marketing Association, the average consumer is exposed to as many as 10,000 brand messages a day?

More ads? Definitely not. According to a study by Morning Consult, 75% of Americans agree that internet ads are intrusive.

The Evaluation Stage

There is one stage of the buying cycle that gives us our answer: the evaluation stage. Whether we’re talking 1960 or in 2020, consumers have always wanted to know that the products or services they’re purchasing are up to snuff.

Because the evaluation phase is often the “make it or break it moment” to persuade consumers to convert, it’s arguably the most critical touchpoint in the decision-making journey, other than the conversion itself.

How Are Consumers Evaluating?

According to a 2017 report by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Aligning with micro influencers is a great way to start racking up positive reviews while also marketing to your target audience.

What’s more, research by SalesForce suggests that, on average, consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase. Moreover, self-proclaimed “research heavyweights” SKIMgroup found that millennials are three times more likely to research on social media at tipping point, or the moment when a consumer decides which brand/product he or she is going to buy.

Recent research by Nielsen suggests that social media is the top information source in a consumer’s decision process. What Nielsen also found was that adults are spending a staggering 5.5 hours on social media a week, equating to 36% of their overall weekly media time. Between the high volume of time and content, brands have the best chance of reaching your customers when they’re actively being endorsed on social media.

Micro Influencer Media

The Customer Journey From Social Media Influencers to The Shopping Cart Onpage 1 300x300Micro influencer marketing combines two of the most significant trends in modern marketing: reviews and content. Not only do people storm the social media to quench their unyielding thirst for research, but they’re engaging with blogs, pictures, and videos, especially when an authentic user generates them.

This particular breed of content is known as user-generated content (UGC). Moreover, because there is such a large quantity of time spent on social media and content with which to engage, influencers are able to positively impact more than just one stage in the buyer’s journey.

For instance, a micro influencer’s posts can generate thousands, if not millions, of impressions to spread awareness of a product. If the consumer is interested in that product, he or she leaps into the consideration phase of the buying cycle.

Because the influencer’s content contains both an endorsement/positive review and UGC, the consumer can also begin evaluating the product with each post. What’s even better, Instagram just launched in-app payments for commerce, meaning users can buy products right in the app!

Micro Influencers versus General User

The Customer Journey From Social Media Influencers to The Shopping Cart Onpage 2 300x300So why use a micro influencer to help make the sale? Research shows that influencer content is even more powerful than general UGC. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that expert content:

  • Increased purchase intent by 83% more than user reviews
  • Lifted brand familiarity 50% more than user reviews
  • Amplified brand affinity 20% more than user reviews

The Inspiration of a Micro Influencer

Why do we use social media? We want to see something interesting, engage with high-quality content, and learn about what’s happening in the world.

Influencer marketing works so well because it captures the attention of a specific audience while they’re in the mood to be inspired.

Moreover, because influencer content has more of a neutral tone compared to straight-up branded content, consumers trust it. In fact, Futurum Researcher Daniel Newman wrote in Forbes, “Influencers (experts) are far and away the most trusted at the point of sale.”

Amplifying Your Brand with Influencers

With so many distractions during the buying cycle, it’s critical for brands to hold the attention of the consumer. In order to stand out, brands need to produce massive amounts of high-quality content whilst earning positive reviews and endorsements.

However, there’s simply not enough time in the day. Thankfully, micro influencer marketing allows brands to merge owned, earned, and paid media.

If you’re looking for stunning, high-quality content from micro influencers who genuinely love your products, you should consider hiring ApexDrop for a trial campaign. Imagine having an affordable and easy way to get your products featured by hundreds of top-tier influencers on Instagram.

ApexDrop makes that happen every day for huge brands all over the world and is the #1 micro influencer agency. For more information, schedule a call with an ApexDrop Influencer Specialist today