18 Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics Every Restaurant Owner Should Know

By Carin Galletta

Restaurants, especially fine dining establishments, live and die by word of mouth recommendations. Below are 18 statistics from some of the biggest brains in the business to help you understand word of mouth marketing better.

  1. In a study conducted by social networking site myYearbook, 81 percent of respondents said they’d received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision. (Click Z, January 2010)

  2. A March 2009 study by Knowledge Networks found that between 10% and 24% of US social media users turned to their social networks when making purchase decisions about various categories of products and services. (eMarketer, October 2009)

  3. According to Technorati there are roughly 33,000 food and restaurant blogs in the United States.

  4. McKinsey & Company reports that word of mouth is driven by both direct experiences (56 percent) and by company driven activity(44 percent).

  5. 67% of shoppers spend after recommendations from their online community of friends. (Internet Retailer, September 2009)

  6. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and customer reviews are considered the most effective tactics for mobilizing consumers to talk up products online. (Etailing survey of 117 companies, September 2009)

  7. Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities). (Yankelovich)

  8. 84% of consumers said they were more likely to check online for reviews prior to making a purchase compared to twelve months ago, according to a recent survey by Brand Reputation (Retail Bulletin, October 2009)

  9. Word of mouth activity is generated by unexpected experiences, both positive and negative.

  10. Traditional social network ads fail to engage 96% of users; users “are looking for buyer reviews.” (Telegraph UK, August 2009)

  11. Customer reviews are the most effective social tactic for driving sales, followed by question-and-answer features and a Facebook fan page where companies post information. (Etailing survey of 117 companies, September 2009)

  12. The Trust in Advertising survey of 26,000+ found that Consumer Recommendations are the most credible form of advertising. (“Social Media Marketing: The Right Strategy for Tough Economic Times” Awareness, 2008)

  13. A May 2009 Forrester Research demonstrates ROI of guest service through social media finding that it increases guest lifetime value by creating more loyal guests that spread positive word of mouth, buy more and purchase frequently over a longer period of time.

  14. In a Harvard Business Review experiment found Facebook changed customer behavior for the better. People who had replied to both surveys and had become fans ended up being test restaurant’s best customers: Though they spent about the same amount of money per visit, they increased their store visits per month after becoming Facebook fans and generated more positive word of mouth than non fans. 

  15. 40 percent of Twitter users regularly search for products or services via Twitter.

  16. 12 percent of consumers have purchased a product online because of information they found on Twitter.

  17. According to ICOM research most word of mouth recommendations happen offline.

  18. On April 23, 2009, Twitter was responsible for 15 percent of Naked Pizza’s total sales on that day.

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