Just a Quarter of Women Say Social Media Influences Purchases

Just a quarter of women say they are influenced by social media when it comes to making purchases. A new study from Q Interactive shows that, even though 75 percent of women are more active at social media sites now than a year before, only 25 percent of the participants said the sites influenced them “greatly” or “somewhat” when it came to purchasing.

“What the survey shows is the fact the tools and methodologies to advertise to consumers in the social environment are different,” said Matt Wise, CEO at lead generation and marketing firm Q Interactive, who believes the discrepancy reveals that brands are not effectively communicating with women via social media. “A huge number of brands are missing that point. They are deferring to what they’ve used in the past, which are banners, display ads, or static newsletters,” he said. “Or maybe they’ve created a single video and think, ‘I’m engaged in the social environment.'”

The study showed around 20 percent of the women checked social media sites several times throughout the day, while around 34 percent said they logged on at least once daily. Brands including Old Navy, Pillsbury, Kraft, Betty Crocker, and Ralph Lauren were mentioned favorably in an open-ended question about participants’ favorite brand Web sites.

Half of the study participants said they receive between one and four e-mail newsletters, and around 47 percent said their trust in a brand was increased after signing up for its newsletter.

Wise commented that most brands do a fairly good job of getting women to join an e-mail list. However, he continued, “Most of them fall down on the job in reconnecting with the consumer.” He said that newsletters that included meal recipes or referred to charitable causes (breast cancer awareness, green initiatives, etc.), while carefully mixing in what the brand offers, gain more traction among women than when those including transparent product promos.

Q Interactive ran the 28-question survey from August 11-14 at its property, CoolSavings.com, and presented the data Wednesday during the ad:tech conference in Chicago. The majority of the participants were 25-to-55-years old.

“What brand marketers need to do, whether they are doing online or offline campaigns, is have an eye towards, ‘Will this resonate in the social environment? Is this something that folks are going to talk about?'” said Wise. “It is not like television. You need people to pick up your story and carry it.”

Facebook is used most by 66 percent of respondents, with MySpace following at a distant second at 16 percent. Meanwhile, the survey showed that traditional media are taking a bit of a hit due to Facebook and MySpace.

Out of many activities, 8.3 percent of the women said they were watching less TV less, while around 4 percent said they read books and magazines less frequently.

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