Insight / October 2017

Circles of Influence: why close friends matter most

Ghost with phone, microphone, and price tags floating in circles.

When it comes to influencing what you buy, besties know best.

There is an undeniable, powerful bond between close friends. We trust their advice more than almost anyone, and in turn, they inspire many of the choices we make. According to a recent Sparkler study, 93% of social media users say they buy things that their close friends recommend. 71% of them often buy similar products from brands that their friends do, and 62% learn about new brands from friends. 

And here’s the kicker: 87% ranked close friends as the most influential factor in purchasing decisions — compared to just 6% for influencers and celebrities.1

“I value my best friends’ opinions because we know each other inside out. We have earned each other’s trust and give one another the best advice.”1 

While social media has helped connect the world, it seems that just a handful of close friends still influence us most. 83% of social media users believe influencers and celebrities are being paid to endorse brands or products on social media. Meanwhile, 83% believe their close friends know them and the things they’re interested in better than anyone else. With 77% believing what their close friends say or show is relevant, a recommendation from close friends almost always commands our attention.1

Circles of Influence — Four friend types that influence purchase decisions4

Close friends are the most influential sources of recommendation when it comes to consumer purchase decisions. Source 1.

Inspired by BFFs1

93 percent of consumers buy or try things close friends recommend. Source 1.

“I can tell if [my close friends] will really like something or not. I also know how much they like to spend.”1

Recommendations are more powerful than endorsements

87%

ranked close friends as the most influential in encouraging them to try a new brand, product, or service1

83%

feel that influencers and celebrities are being paid to endorse brands or products on social media1

Snapchat is a close friends network, making ads more influential and interactions more meaningful

80% of Snapchatters recall seeing themselves, a family member, a close friend, or significant other in a Lens or Filter3

Ghost with phone illustration

Snapchat interactions are nearly 50% more likely to be between close friends1

“Snapchat gives me the most connection with my close friends because it’s used for one-to-one personal messages.”

A study from Greenberg Strategy found that 86% of Snapchatters have used Snapchat to communicate with friends and family, and many indicated it was their main source of communication with friends.2 Those personal, one-to-one Snaps sent directly to friends are what make Snapchat a close friend network — not a broadcast network for reaching the largest number of people. This makes interactions more meaningful and ads more influential, as nearly 60% of Snaps are sent and received between close friends.1 Further, 80% of Snapchatters recall seeing themselves, a family member, a close friend, or significant other in a Lens or Filter — landing brands and advertisers right in Snapchatters’ inner Circle of Influence.3

  1. 2017 Sparkler study commissioned by Snap Inc.
  2. 2017 Greenberg Strategy study commissioned by Snap Inc.
  3. Kantar Millward Brown Resonance Results 2016/17
  4. 2017 Sparkler study commissioned by Snap Inc. Influence score derived from the average % of respondents who considered each friend type to be influential across questions that related directly to purchase intent.