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Millennials put user-generated referrals before brand in purchase decisions

07 Feb 2012 11:58 GMT Back
Millennials put user-generated referrals before brand in purchase decisions
DMA News

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Millennials - the mid-teen to mid-30s demographic - won't purchase certain goods without first seeking the opinion of user-generated referrals, says a new study from Bazaarvoice called Talking to Strangers. 

Electronics (44 per cent), cars (40 per cent) hotel stays (39 per cent) and insurance policies (30 per cent) are among the items that Millennials will only purchase after researching online reviews.

While word of mouth from friends and acquaintances have always scored above brand messaging, the report reveals that Millennials will even put the opinion of strangers whom they view as 'people like them' above corporate branding. More than half (51 per cent) of the Millennials surveyed said they trust user-generated content more than a company website (16 per cent) news articles (14 per cent) or brand advertising (6 per cent).

While many baby boomers feel overwhelmed by the amount of information online, 84 per cent of this demographic are comforted by their ability to access so many opinions on products they want to buy. What's more, they actively contribute their own opinions of purchases to the mix sharing their positive and negative brand experiences via social media rather than emailing the company or talking to friends.  

Cate Trotter, head of trends at Insider Trends is not surprised by Millennials’ dependence on online content. 

“A key trend to emerge this year is ‘humanness’. This is where brands act with honesty and integrity. One example is Domino’s Pizza that took out a billboard in [New York’s] Times Square and published all its tweets, good and bad. Their overall review rating was four out of five, but consumers trust a good user-generated four than a five that’s influenced by brand messaging. 

“That’s why there’s been such a backlash to Snickers paying celebrities to tweet. It would’ve been better for them to channel that marketing budget into a ‘satisfaction’ budget, making its product better so that people would tweet about why they like it of their own accord.”

Posted by Alison McClintock
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