Consumers are more willing to engage with – and buy from – brands on social networking sites than previously thought, especially if the ads and marketing messages they receive include offers for discounts, specials, deals, freebies, points or sweepstakes, according to a recent survey from Performics and ROI Research.
The joint study was undertaken to learn how various segments of consumers use social networks in their daily lives, specifically with regard to the purchase process for different types of products, and in relation to other media channels.
Coupons, Freebies, Deals Resonate Most
More than one-third (34%) of online social networkers say they have used a search engine to find information on a product, service or brand after seeing an ad on a social networking site, and 30% of respondents have learned about a new product, service or brand from a social networking site, the study found.
Moreover, the messages that resonate best with social networkers are the ones that make them feel as if they are getting preferential treatment, money-saving deals, or building points toward bigger rewards. Some 32% say messages about printable coupons on social sites resonate with them, and 28% say messages about sales or special deal notifications resonate with them.
The study results also indicate that consumers frequently talk about, recommend or review products on social networks:
- 46% say they would talk about or recommend a product on Facebook.
- 44% of Twitter users have recommended a product.
- 36% of YouTube users have gone to an online retailer or ecommerce site after learning about a brand on a social network site.
Change in Course?
While many marketers have previously shied away from direct branding or selling on social media sites for fear of alienating consumers – and earlier research indicated that many online Americans say they are uninfluenced by brands on social networks? – Performics and ROI believe the study results provide a compelling reason for marketers to keep better tabs on consumer behavior as social networks continue to gain steam.
“Social networks are creating a monumental shift in how people communicate with each other and with brands,” said Michael Kahn, SVP of marketing at Performics.
“One in four respondents have four or more active social network accounts and more than one quarter access their Facebook or Twitter accounts at least once a day via their mobile phone,” said Scott Haiges, President of ROI Research. “We knew that these sites are extremely popular for socializing, but the level of interest for branding and promotional marketing content is surprisingly large.”
30% Not Interested
Performics and ROI also asked the 30% (about 1,000 respondents) who didn’t qualify to take the full survey why they choose not to use social networks. More than three-fourths (77%) cite a lack of interest,? 28% note privacy concerns and 27%? just don’t have the time. Only 13% say they don’t “want all the connections.”
The increasing hunger for more coupons and deals on social networks comes at a time when coupon use is increasing overall and has hit record-high levels. A study released last month by RetailMeNot.com found that coupons are now the deciding factor in purchases for nearly one-third of consumers.
About the survey: The 30-minute online survey of 3,011 US consumers comprised 100+ questions. To take part in the full survey, respondents had to access at least one social network regularly. The sample was screened to be representative of the general online population.