The number one influencer of purchase decisions is word-of-mouth, according to a new Razorfish survey. The survey involved online consumers across four vital markets and is the most current research revealing the significance of word-of-mouth, according to

Razorfish indicated that it “took a deep dive into the qualitative and quantitative data for international markets”: United States, United Kingdom, China, and Brazil. The survey examined “the ways in which digital technology is shifting traditional brand-consumer relationships” and involved a ranking of five measured so-called “purchasing influences.” The purchasing influences were ranked by the percentage of respondents who rated them as being influential. According to U.S. and U.K. consumers, the influencers ranked as:

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Online reviews from other consumers
  • Online reviews from industry experts
  • Traditional advertising, including television, radio, and print
  • Social media posts from friends and family

“From uncovering global commerce expectations to identifying the effect of digital on our subconscious, this research set out to expose the key trends shaping marketing,” Razorfish wrote. For example, noted MarketingCharts, respondents rated online reviews from other consumers higher than reviews from experts, which followed trends seen in other studies.

Word-of-mouth also ranked highly among Brazilian and Chinese respondents, although Brazilians ranked traditional advertising second and Chinese respondents ranked social media posts from friends and family third, MarketingCharts pointed out.

While traditional advertising routes were not highly ranked, a Keller Fay study reveals that brand content on TV, in print, and on the radio leads to considerable word-of-mouth in the U.S. That being said, most respondents in the U.S. and U.K. indicated that they work to avoid ads; over three-quarters of the respondents in every market noted that they hate seeing and hearing ads on multiple occasions on the radio, TV, and online. Interestingly this finding does not mean the ads are not influential.

Razorfish suggests that for brands to provoke more positive consumer responses, their focus should be on their usefulness. For example, depending on the market, between 79 percent of U.K. respondents and 88 percent of the respondents from China agreed that the brands they prefer are useful over brands considered interesting. “Brand loyalty isn’t dead, but digital has fundamentally redefined what it means,” Razorfish noted. Strong consensus also exists regarding the importance of brands easing consumers’ lives. In fact, 87 to 98 percent of the respondents—depending on the market—agreed.

Razorfish data is based on a Spring 2014 survey of over 1,680 individuals with Internet access in the U.S, U.K, Brazil and China and was conducted in collaboration with the Center for the Digital Future.

Source:; Word-of-Mouth Again Said Leading Purchase Influencer; November 13, 2014.

Razorfish; Digital Dopamine 2015 Global Digital Marketing Report.