Social sharing influences two-thirds of consumer purchases

Social recommendations as important a shopping tool as Google search

Nearly two-thirds of consumers claim that they read product reviews from friends on Facebook, with three-quarters of that figure saying that they click through to retailers’ websites afterwards, according to new research by Sociable Labs. Once there, 53% claim that they made a purchase, says the research firm, labelling social recommendations as important a shopping tool as Google search. Some 48% of the 1,008 respondents cite a Facebook comment as “extremely helpful” or “very helpful” in influencing online shopping, just behind 49% for Google. Less than a quarter are influenced by online ads, and 17% claim that a direct email from a retailer is helpful when searching for products. The stats are a positive for brands and retailers and affirms social media’s role in influencing consumers’ online purchasing activities.

Retailers have the ability to trigger [social] sharing from their e-commerce sites, driving both significant referral visits and conversion uplift if they fully leverage it. Now with high-velocity ‘frictionless sharing,’ social sharing can become one of the top drivers of both for almost any online retailer,” says Sociable Labs VP, Darby Williams.

Sociable Labs adds that online retailers that integrate friends’ shopping activities on their websites can increase consumer activity on their properties by as much as 62%, with 57% more likely to purchase an item. The stats echo recent research by the University of Miami School of Business last month, which asserts that the presence of a social sharing button on a product page can increase or decrease the likelihood of a purchase by 25%, depending on the whether the item is something that you would reveal to your peers. Deals and discounts are the leading motivators for sharing purchases, according to Sociable Labs, while a quarter of respondents simply want to share why they bought a particular product.  

The research is the latest to analyse the role of social media in influencing consumers’ online activity and purchasing decisions, as brands, retailers and marketers continue to grapple with networks such as Facebook and Twitter in a bid to grab consumers’ attention. While Facebook is considered by many to be the barometer for social influence, with 845 million users worldwide, research by Kantar Media last year claims that Twitter is in fact more important than Facebook when it comes to influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions, with 35% of respondents identifying the microblogging website as either “influential” or “extremely influential” in making purchasing decisions, compared to just 23.5% for Facebook.


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