Brand advocates are consumers who actively promote the brands, products and services they love and provide marketers with a volunteer army of supporters who disseminate recommendations to friends and family.
Social media influencer and advocacy company Zuberance found, in a January 2012 study, that US internet users are making more recommendations than ever before, across a variety of industries. On average, the US internet users studied by Zuberance made 9 recommendations per year.
Among internet users who make at least one brand, product or service recommendation per year, 16% reported recommending more than 15 brands, products or services in that timeframe. Another 16% made 10 to 15 recommendations, while more than two-thirds made fewer than 10 recommendations.
As certain consumers increase the frequency with which they make recommendations to at least once a month, they can be considered brand advocates. And as of January 2012, 68% of internet users were in this category. Many of these brand advocates recommend products and services even more frequently, on a weekly or near-daily basis.
When it comes to the types of recommendations they make, internet users talk about technology most often, at 25%, followed by restaurants and dining (15%), and entertainment and leisure (14%).
The Zuberance study also found that 67% of brand advocates were comfortable recommending brands, products and services related to both professional and personal purchases.
Notably, not all of this online word-of-mouth takes place on social media sites. Internet users still prefer email to make their recommendations, with 57% of respondents saying it is their primary online recommendation tool. Another 35% of respondents cited Facebook as their preferred platform for voicing their brand recommendations.