Consumers rarely go to brand pages on Facebook and Twitter while deciding what to buy.
Click-stream data from customers of Dell and two other major brands show that while social media affected their purchase decisions, the companies' Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts factored little. Only 1 percent of consumers visited those social media presences as they zeroed in on buying a product, according to the brands' social media marketing agency M80.
"Consumers are not going to Facebook.com/superglue or whatever," said Jeff Semones, president of the Los Angeles-based company, while speaking at the Social Upfront conference in New York yesterday. "They are getting that information from their friends and other consumers in the marketplace…That's why brands need to be actively engaging with their audiences, so brand messages show up in the consumers' feeds."
Semones didn't divulge brand names during his presentation, but later told ClickZ News that Dell was one of the clients involved in the research. He said a major CPG brand and telecom made up the other two companies participating in the study, which concluded in February.
And while his comments focused on potential social media marketing benefits, they also highlighted the power of search. Semones said the click-stream study - spearheaded by fellow WPP subsidiary GroupM Search - showed that 51 percent of purchasers leaned on sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to perform product research. Forty-eight percent combined social media and search sites before deciding on what to buy.
During a joint appearance, Semones and Kontera SVP of Sales Chris Karl also discussed consumer survey data about the impact of social media on purchasing habits. Two intriguing data-points: 74 percent of respondents said they preferred to learn about brands on Facebook, while 53 percent stated that social media changed their opinion about a product/brand.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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