92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than advertisements.

81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts.

With the ability to replicate, scale, and measure this consumer-to-consumer marketing tactic, why aren’t these two statistics alone enough for all marketers to board the influence train?

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and Beyond

Were the numbers wrong? Are recommendations really meaningless? Is this real life? We surveyed more than 550 influencers during the crucial holiday shopping period to find out. Here’s what we found:

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and Beyond
More than half of our influencers turn to social networks for gift-giving inspiration, with another 7% looking to blogs (another powerful source of influencers). But this is just for product awareness. What about actually trusting the source?

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and BeyondAmazon reviews and recommendations from friends and family on social media definitely take the cake (or pie!) as a trusted resource.

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and BeyondFriends and family aren’t just making recommendations for products our influencers are currently seeking out, they are also actively recommending new products as well.

Phew! It looks like the numbers still support that the majority of people trust recommendations from friends and family, and often times will use social media to convey the message. It’s no wonder we constantly hear about the ubiquity of social networks and its potential for brands and products. We’ve seen the results firsthand.

So what is the shock factor? According to this information, there has to be a significant amount of marketing spend for social media, right?

Not quite…

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and BeyondForrester’s research shows that social media marketing, in 2016, is most likely still less than 6.6% of digital marketing spend versus more than 36% going to display advertising. Where exactly is it going within the category of display?

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and BeyondeMarketer shows a clear trend of most digital display spend going to banner ads. The only use banner ads serve nowadays may be the punchlines for Solve Media’s CAPTCHA ads.

Why You Need Influence Marketing in 2015 and Beyond

Not convinced? “The 468 x 60 banner has a .04 percent click rate.” As presented in Digiday’s 15 Alarming Stats About Banner Ads.

So is there really no hope? Will we all continue to be inundated with impersonal banner ads? Not quite. Forrester’s forecast shows the compound annual growth rate for social media marketing is the second highest at 26% by 2016 (right behind mobile marketing). Looking at the bigger picture, marketers understand the importance of being where consumers are, but can’t exactly measure why.

According to marketing research from Duke University, it’s still difficult for marketers to quantify their return on investment. Only 15% of 351 top marketing executives in the study said they can show the quantitative impact of social media on their businesses, while 40% of marketers can only demonstrate the qualitative impact. Nearly half of marketers said they haven’t been able to demonstrate the impact of social media spending on their business at all.

Justifying how ad dollars get spent is a constant concern for marketers, who face increased pressure to deliver on margins. Now, more than ever, supplements and even replacements to traditional advertising must clearly show the math.