Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics in 2022: Positive and Negative Impact

Word of mouth marketing has influenced all purchasing decisions—from buying a new car to picking from a specific clothing brand and restaurant recommendations. Well, who doesn’t love to hear an opinion about products and services from reliable sources?

Most marketers understand that people depend on the surrounding environment more than they can even realize. For this reason, brands spend their time and effort improving customer acquisition through organic channels. 

The following word of mouth marketing statistics will give you a clear picture of how impactful this kind of marketing is and why you should consider it for your business. 

Top Word of Mouth Marketing Stats: Editor’s Choice

  • 86% of customers rely on word of mouth recommendations and online reviews.
  • Family and friend recommendations are trusted by 92% of individuals.
  • 85% of small businesses agree that word of mouth recommendations brought them the most consumers.
  • Word of mouth marketing is responsible for driving a good 13% of sales.
  • 74% of consumers say that word of mouth impacts their shopping decisions.
  • A mere 4% of American clients trust sponsored content.
  • A whopping 82% of Gen Zers turn to family and friends before purchasing a product.
  • 96% of brands do not respond to clients on social media immediately.

General Word of Mouth Marketing Stats and Facts

The word of mouth marketing definition can be seen as the process of actively encouraging other people to spread the word about a specific product, service, event, or brand people might be interested in. Based on customer experiences, businesses use this entirely free form of advertising to continuously boost sales, traffic, and leads.

1. 86% of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations and online reviews.

Considering that we live in a digital era, it’s only normal that so many people trust word of mouth and online reviews channels.

Nowadays, word of mouth effectiveness replaces all other marketing channels such as television advertisements, print ads, and, surprisingly, social media. Only one person’s experience with a product or service can impact positively or negatively your brand.

2. A staggering 92% of people trust recommendations from family and friends.

Although word of mouth marketing has been around for a very long time, this type of advertising has only gained the recognition it deserves in recent years.

According to Nielsen, the overwhelming majority of respondents prefer this traditional word of mouth marketing to any other. They agreed that they would trust their friends’ and family’s opinions more than any kind of paid advertisement. It’s only normal to trust your parents more than a brand that wants your money!

3. 85% of small businesses gain new local customers thanks to word of mouth referrals.

Thanks to the spread of opinions and online reviews, brands keep attracting new potential customers. This is especially true for local small businesses. For this reason, a word of mouth recommendation is the key for most small businesses.

If a person is happy with a specific product or service, a family member or friend will most likely become a new customer. Not to mention, the satisfied clients will spread the word, generating a chain of new potential leads.

4. Word of mouth marketing drives 13% of all sales.

A study found that online and offline consumers referrals constitute about 13% of the overall customer sales. At first sight, this percentage of word of mouth sales might not impress you as much.

However, you must consider that this type of marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. As you can see, this is a significant number for businesses with hundreds or thousands of clients.

5. Apart from friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews by other consumers.

It’s not surprising that seven out of ten people trust strangers’ opinions more than what the brand says about their products. While companies can trick you into buying a product to profit from your hard-earned money, consumers are the most reliable source.

6. As reported by word of mouth marketing statistics, 74% of consumers agree that word of mouth influences their purchasing decisions.

Although we live in a digital world, many people still broadly use traditional media. As a matter of fact, word of mouth has the biggest influence on people when deciding whether to purchase a product or not. 69% of buyers find retailers influential, and 64% think that YouTube how-to, product visualization, and entertainment videos help them make a purchasing decision.

7. 96% of customers who had a positive experience with a brand will return and tell others.

People love to share their experiences and give feedback through offline or online word of mouth marketing. Especially in our digital era, it’s easier to voice your opinion about a particular product or service online. Sharing your feedback has become an essential part of word of mouth marketing.

Word of Mouth Advertising

Every marketer needs word of mouth marketing advertising, as it’s the most effective form of advertising. This type of advertising is credible, reliable, and, most importantly, free. Surprisingly, positive reviews about your products or brand can steer more customers than a paid advertisement.

But, how to make sure that your potential ambassadors will recommend your brand? See what these word of mouth advertising statistics say.

word of mouth marketing statistics 1

8. 75% of people don’t trust paid advertisements.

People trust family, friends, and even random strangers on the Internet more than paid advertisements. 

A report by HubSpot proves that a whopping 90% of consumers trust family and friends, while 70% believe in online reviews based on customer experience. That’s why you shouldn’t take the power of word of mouth for granted.

9. In the US, only 4% of consumers trust brand-sponsored content.

There’s no doubt about it—only a small percentage of Americans trust the brand over other consumers’ experiences. At the same time, word of mouth statistics demonstrate that an astounding 96% of consumers mistrust brand-sponsored content and media advertisement. It’s only natural that people trust word of mouth promotion more than what they happen to see in the media.

10. Word of mouth marketing influences millennial voters 115% more than traditional advertising.

Word of mouth does not only influence sales decisions, but it also affects people’s political stances. 

We can easily understand that presidential campaigns are not as effective as word of mouth publicity. Millennials mostly trust people’s opinions on social media and blogs. For example, an Instagram post or a Tweet gets more consensus than a presidential campaign.

Negative Word of Mouth Statistics

It’s true that word of mouth is the most reliable kind of marketing out there. However, many businesses can witness the adverse outcomes of poor customer experience. As a result, this can significantly impact word of mouth marketing and, therefore, consumers’ purchasing decisions.

11. Nearly 53% of customers expect brands to reply to negative reviews within a week.

Nowadays, the most used and trusted word of mouth communication is online reviews. Especially if faced with a bad experience, customers do not hesitate to voice their opinion on some of the most influential word of mouth marketing sites, such as Yelp or Trip Advisor. For this reason, it’s crucial for brands to take accountability and respond to customers about their issues.

While most customers expect brands to reply within a week, a third of them demand an immediate response, in a frame of 3 days or even less.

12. Only 1 in 25 consumers will complain about their bad experience with the brand.

Unfortunately, almost every consumer will share their bad experience with their family, friends, and colleagues. 

So, how fast does negative word of mouth spread? As customers prefer to sit on those feelings of dissatisfaction instead of solving it with the brand, negative word of mouth spreads like wildfire. As a result, companies do not have the opportunity to fix their mistakes while gaining an awful reputation at the same time.

13. It takes nearly 40 positive customer experiences to make up for the damage caused by a single negative review.

Unfortunately, businesses can easily have their reputation ruined because of only one negative review.

Although word of mouth marketing has its advantages and disadvantages, customers don’t always register their complaints with the brand. In this case, most companies are not aware of how many customers they’re losing and won’t be able to undo the damage. However, that is not entirely impossible. For the most part, businesses can solve most of their negative reviews by being proactive and genuine.

Now that you have a better knowledge of the positive and negative effects of word of mouth marketing on companies, take a look at even more fascinating stats and facts.

14. Consumers acquired through word of mouth tend to spend 200% more than the average customer.

Customers acquired thanks to word of mouth make twice as many referrals. As a result, word of mouth marketing helps you attract more people and make them spend more money at the same time. Statistics on word of mouth marketing demonstrate that people are willing to pay more for a brand they heard from family and friends.

15. 82% of Gen Zers trust family and friends the most with their purchasing decisions.

Gen Z is the generation representing the current digital era. You might think that they would use digital word of mouth marketing when buying a product. On the contrary, the majority of Gen Zers still use the traditional way and rely on family and friends’ recommendations.

16. Facebook holds 19% of all customer reviews.

According to the most recent word of mouth marketing statistics, it’s not shocking that social media is gradually becoming more and more influential.

Compared to other review platforms, Facebook is currently on top of its game. In fact, one out of five company reviews is on this social media platform, registering the highest number of positive reviews out there.

17. 96% of brands take a long time to respond to customers’ mentions on social media.

Only 4% of inquiries received an answer from brands within 15 minutes. Word of mouth statistics for 2022 show that 88.8% of brands fail to respond within 24 hours. Speed in response contributes significantly to customer care and positive reviews, so brands should focus more on responding to customers’ queries faster.

Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics: The Takeaway

When it comes to defining the benefits of word of mouth marketing, these stats and facts help you understand how influential this tool is when adequately implemented.

If you’re a business owner, you should keep in mind that an outstanding customer experience can make your clients more willing to spread the word. Happy customers can help you attract dozens of new ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is word of mouth marketing?

Word of mouth marketing is the most effective strategy you can adopt for your business. It establishes brand loyalty, as consumers would purposely recommend the company to other people. Word of mouth is also a form of free advertising that significantly increases brand awareness and sales. 

Moreover, it’s authentic. People build a community solely by sharing positive reviews and recommending the products to an audience. It creates a network of people that is more valuable and less expensive than an advertising campaign. 

How much of a business is word of mouth?

Word of mouth is tremendously crucial for your business, as it drives 13% of annual sales. Although this number might not sound remarkable at first, it accounts for $6 trillion in customer sales per year. As proven by this statistic, word of mouth is an extraordinary tool your business can’t live without. 

What is word of mouth marketing strategy?

When customers have an excellent experience with a product, service, or brand, they will most likely spread the word to their circle of friends, family members, and colleagues. This is more commonly known as word of mouth marketing (WOM).

Word of mouth marketing is a type of free advertising that encourages consumers to spread the word and create brand awareness. Besides the most traditional oral communication, word of mouth marketing advertising may include digital tools, such as viral videos, blog articles, and social media marketing.

What are the benefits of word of mouth in consumer behavior?

Word of mouth is tremendously crucial for your business, as it drives 13% of annual sales. Although this number might not sound remarkable at first, Word of mouth marketing has many benefits for consumers and businesses. The most important one is trust—consumers consider family and friends as their most reliable source. They will go out of their way to promote your products on social media, blogs, and offline. As a result, word of mouth generates brand loyalty—happy customers recommend your products and bring the most referrals.

What makes word-of-mouth communication more reliable and trustworthy in the minds of consumers?

People will talk about your product and, therefore, strengthen its value. They tend to speak about the positive features with other people, including family members and their closest friends. 

Thanks to the digital era, communication spreads even faster—many people like to review product features and their brand experience online. Potential customers are most likely to trust recommendations from people they know or online reviews more than any other kind of paid advertisement.

How does negative word of mouth affect a business?

Word of mouth marketing is undoubtedly the most reliable form of free advertising, as people talk about their direct experiences with the brand. While brands with positive reviews benefit greatly from word of mouth, that is not the same for negative ones. As a result, negative reviews cause businesses to have their reputation ruined, experiencing a considerable drop in sales, traffic, and leads.

Why is word of mouth so important for marketers?

Businesses can easily spread the word about the products and services they’re offering. As demonstrated by word of mouth marketing statistics, the majority of consumers trust people they know more than TV or media advertisements.

Thanks to this valuable strategy, companies can ask their customers for more referrals. For example, most companies ask their followers to mention other users on Instagram or Twitter to win one of their products as a word of mouth marketing strategy. This way, more and more people will take a look at the brand’s products.


BBB, Big Commerce, Buyapowa, Forbes, HubSpot, Inc., Invespcro, Referral Candy, ReviewTrackers, Reviewtrackers, Sharpen CX, Semrush, Talk Triggers, Toptal, Verizon, Yieldify