Shoutly Study: Consumers Trust Social Media Platforms for Product Recommendations

4 out of 5 consumers find advertisements on websites annoying, while 82% are more likely to buy products due to online recommendations

STOCKHOLM--()--Shoutly, an innovative monetization platform for the social web, today announced the results of its Social Channel Influence Survey. The survey provides insights on consumer sentiment and the effectiveness of product marketing through traditional online advertising versus personalized recommendations on social media channels. The survey found that nearly all consumers (84%) find online ads to be annoying for reasons that include: there are too many (50%); they are distracting (40%); they take up too much room on the website page (37%); they are irrelevant (30%); and they disturb their reading (29%). Alternatively, 82% of consumers favor personal recommendations when shopping online. Shoutly capitalizes on social commerce, enabling social media users, website owners, and bloggers to use their influence to recommend valuable products to earn money online. Shoutly also provides a marketplace for vendors to connect with affiliates and sell their goods, increasing their customer base and generating more sales without hiring additional staff.

“This study shows that traditional online advertising is not the most effective way to reach your audience and sell products and services,” said Henrik Wastlund, CEO of Shoutly. “Instead, consumers want to read a trusted recommendation before buying a new product. At Shoutly, we help consumers make educated decisions about their purchases through our affiliate network and marketers who select the products they want to promote using their own words and personal reviews.”

For the study, over 500 individuals were interviewed on their purchasing decisions and the influence of social media channels. The survey found that nearly all respondents said that it is important to read a recommendation about a product before buying it (92%). Additionally, 8 out of 10 said that they research blogs or product reviews before buying downloadable products, such as ebooks or software, with only 10% of consumers rarely conducting such research. For example, most consumers said that they would purchase an ebook (77%) or software (78%) if they read a positive recommendation through social media. Ebook categories included how to (38%), Sci-Fi (36%), fitness/diet (35%), biographies (34%), self-help (29%), romance (29%), and business (22%). Software categories included games (52%) and music (49%) as the most popular, followed by fitness (32%), weather (30%), photography (27%), security (26%), business (23%), taxes (22%), and dating (10%).

In fact, a friend’s recommendation on social media (47%) is the most influential factor when buying software or ebooks, compared to an ad on TV (31%), text ad on search results (23%), and celebrities recommendation on social media (14%). Further highlighting the power of online recommendations, over 90% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product if it has been recommended to them by someone they follow online with 35% saying they would likely buy it, 33% saying they would very likely buy it, and 14% saying they would definitely buy it. Respondents said that the most trusted social media platform to follow posts for a product recommendation is Facebook (65%), followed by YouTube (36%), Twitter (27%), website (26%), blog (19%), Instagram (17%), Pinterest (16%), and Linkedin (14%).

Furthermore, respondents stated that the most useful social media recommendation for an ebook or software is a review from someone who has actually used it (61%). This was followed by:

  • Hard facts on what’s good and bad with it (43%)
  • Friend’s recommendation (41%)
  • Significant other’s recommendation (20%)
  • Mom’s recommendation (21%)
  • Dad’s recommendation (16%)
  • A “guru” recommending the product (15%)
  • Celebrity’s recommendation (10%)

When it comes to product recommendations from celebrities or people whom consumers know, consumers are far more receptive to people they know (82% receptive to people they know v. 63% receptive to social/digital media celebrities). In fact, 69% of respondents are most receptive to their friends. This was followed by moms (39%), significant others (36%), co-workers (30%), dads (26%), neighbors (21%), exes (3%), and even enemies (2%). On the social/digital media celebrity side, respondents are most receptive to bloggers (36%), category experts (32%), Hollywood celebrities (19%), sport celebrities (15%), vloggers (14%), and least of all, political celebrities (8%).

Timing wise, half of respondents said that they are most likely to pay attention to a product that is recommended by someone they follow while browsing on social media at home (50%). Additionally, 39% said they are likely to pay attention during the holidays, 23% near their birthday, 21% when they get their pay check, 15% while at work, and 6% while in the bathroom. Moreover, evenings (42%) and afternoons (35%) are the most popular times they pay attention to product recommendations where as early mornings (20%) and mid-mornings (25%) are the least popular.

As consumers continue to rely on personal recommendations through social media, an increasing number of everyday individuals are turning their online audiences – from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and personal blogs – into a marketplace where their product reviews serve as a key driving force for purchasing decisions. Shoutly captures the power of these social networks and provides a viable revenue source for its affiliate marketers by providing high sales commissions for product reviews, and many Shoutly users are turning to affiliate marketing as their main source of income. In fact, the survey found that 69% of respondents would like to quit their jobs for reasons that include, making more money (35%) and to work on something they are passion about (32%). This was followed by:

  • To have control over my own schedule (26%)
  • To do something that lets me work for myself (23%)
  • To spend more time with my significant other (15%)
  • To get away from people (10%)
  • To tell my boss to go to Hell (8%)
  • To focus more time on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter (7%)

Additionally, the study revealed that 52% of Americans are planning to quit their jobs in some surprising fashions such as:

  • With a publicly shared video (i.e., YouTube) (7%)
  • With a musical band (7%)
  • In a blaze of glory (7%)
  • Sending a pornographic Tweet from the company Twitter handle (5%)
  • Call from the beach with a Mai Thai in hand (5%)
  • With as many co-workers as possible (5%)
  • In a drag (5%)
  • With a well-rehearsed speech upbraiding your boss in front of your office (4%)
  • In an open letter posted online with my grievances (3%)


Founded in 2011, Swedish-based startup Shoutly is an online social commerce platform that helps bloggers and entrepreneurs turn their passion into profits. Shoutly connects creators of digital products, with bloggers and social media users, who get paid a high sales commission for every sale they generate. With 92% of consumers saying they trust word-of-mouth recommendations above advertising, “social commerce” is expected to be a $30 billion market. Shoutly received $2.6 million in Series A funding in 2012. For more information, please visit, or watch the explanatory video at


Grayling for Shoutly
Alessandra Nagy, 714-310-4439
Jessica Nelson, 415-442-4024
Heedrin Bustamante, 415-442-4019


Grayling for Shoutly
Alessandra Nagy, 714-310-4439
Jessica Nelson, 415-442-4024
Heedrin Bustamante, 415-442-4019