Celebrities, Professional Athletes and Influencers for advice about what to buy? New study finds consumers don’t trust them

The first ExpertVoice Consumer Trust Panel reveals that only 4% of consumers trust celebrity endorsements, while 83% trust the recommendations from friends and family.

The consumer panel, conducted by advocacy marketing company ExpertVoice, investigated the buying behavior of a weighted U.S. Census Audience of more than 500 consumers, specifically looking into who consumers trust for recommendations on what to buy. The results found that, in today’s overcrowded marketplace, consumers are searching for trusted recommendations before making a purchase.

While celebrity endorsements, athlete sponsorships and influencer marketing have all been proven to raise awareness, this panel found that these tactics aren’t effective at driving consumers to make purchases. With the influencer marketing industry expected to reach $10 billion by 2020, it’s likely brands will be looking for better ways to complement their top of funnel tactics, with efforts that directly drive sales performance.

According to 57% of respondents, the greatest concern for consumers regarding celebrity, athlete and influencer recommendations is the monetary compensation given to the individual from the brands they’re promoting. Additionally, in the free response section of the survey, many consumers expressed concern over what knowledge a celebrity possesses regarding the product they’re being paid to endorse. They stated that having honest, personable, and educated individuals making recommendations based on actual experience with the product is a key differentiator in determining whether they would trust a recommendation.

Said one respondent: “Paid product endorsements are meaningless. I want to learn about the product from experts who are advocating for it, not just some random person who happens to have a job that makes them well-known.”

When asked which groups they took buying advice from, an overwhelming 83% of respondents stated that friends and family were their top choice. Responding to the question of who they’ve taken buying advice from in the past year, 85% said friends and family while only 6% took advice from both influencers and athletes and just 2% from celebrities.

Other groups they know and trust —54% said they would trust the recommendation from a professional expert, like a coach or instructor, while 52% would trust the recommendation of coworkers. Retail associates remained neutral in this weighted scale; about 42% of respondents didn’t feel strongly toward the value they offered in providing a valuable recommendation. As the retail environment continues to evolve, brands will likely look for scalable ways to help sales associates share better recommendations with their customers.

“Brands spend significant marketing dollars to raise awareness and ensure they’re top of mind for the consumer,” said ExpertVoice CEO Tom Stockham, “but the results of this panel indicate that when it comes to actually purchasing a product, consumers want a recommendation from someone they believe to be authentic. In today’s environment, celebrities, influencers and sometimes even the brands themselves aren’t viewed as trusted — so consumers are looking elsewhere.”

This data suggests a population weary of traditional advertising and paid endorsements, and gives a roadmap to brands looking to better reach their consumers through recommendations they trust.

About ExpertVoice

As the world’s largest advocacy marketing company, ExpertVoice connects its community of more than 1 million vetted experts with the world’s top brands to build trusted brand advocacy by giving the experts a voice and elevating their recommendations. Learn more about ExpertVoice and how its rapidly growing community of brands and experts are improving sales performance by visiting www.ExpertVoice.com.

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