A study from Compete.com tells those of us who engage in word of mouth already know – it changes minds and influences decision making in the purchasing process:
To isolate the effect of CGM, Compete surveyed automotive and travel buyers who had made a purchase within the past six months and who had visited a blog, review site, message board or online community during the past 60 days. According to the study, 51% of auto and travel buyers turn to consumer generated media to narrow their purchasing decision, nearly one quarter say that consumer review sites influence their purchase decision; and 24% change their mind about the type of vehicle/travel reservation they end up purchasing as a result of CGM influence. Additionally, consumers influenced by CGM have a major viral effect on other buyers, with 68% influencing friends and family post-purchase and magnifying the overall impact.
Other key findings from the study include:
* 71% of auto and travel buyers influenced by CGM say that CGM is credible. Only 35% of these consumers find brands credible.
* About one third (35%) of auto buyers say that consumer reviews and ratings sites influence their decision, more than company websites (32%) and car dealers (32%). One in five says that advice from other consumers online is an influence.
* Two thirds of travelers say CGM impacted their purchase decision. At an average of $500 per booking, Compete estimates there is more than $2 billion in travel impacted by CGM each year.
Thanks to Sally Falkow for the point.