By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Consumers Increasingly Use Search + Social to Make Buying Decisions
A new report from GroupM and comScore indicates that search engine marketing and social media combined has a huge impact on consumers’ purchasing decision online. It’s worth reading the entire report to understand how SEO and social are interdependent in driving conversion rates. GroupM and comScore looked at consumer behavior associated with purchase decisions in the electronics/telecommunications and consumer packaged goods categories. While a whopping 86 percent of consumers say search engines are very important in their buying process, social media plays an equally critical role in influencing their decision.
Some key findings from the report that you might want to consider include:
- Forty percent of consumers who use search in their path to purchase are motivated to use social media to further their decision making process.
- More than a quarter of those surveyed (28 percent) said sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter help them learn about new brands and products.
- Thirty percent said they used social media to eliminate brands from contention.
- Two most important influentials in social media affecting purchases are user reviews and category blogs, rather than Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Observations on search vs. social and the combination of the two:
- Fifty one percent of consumers use search alone in their buying process
- Forty eight percent combine search and social in the buying process
- Only one percent of conversions are made purely through social media without search. This suggests that social media is not yet a stand-alone conduit for consumer’s decision-making process.
- Another key observation is that only 24 percent started their buying with a brand site.
Likelihood of consumers to follow brands via social media
- 64 percent of consumers are likely to follow a brand after a purchase.
- Furthermore, 74 percent of consumers use a Facebook brand page as the desired format for following a brand for future engagement.
- Consumers prefer to stay engaged with content in the form of videos and tweets about and from the brand.
- Earned social media (user reviews, blog comments) plays an important role in the effort for brands to foster consumer loyalty.
The study validates the complimentary relationship between search and social in affecting buying behavior and it’s important to note that while consumers use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to FIND information, they rely heavily on earned media, user reviews to BUY.
Here’s a really good post from ClickZ on “Search Marketing and Social Media the Perfect Couple,” that offers practical tips on how to inetgrate social media efforts with SEO.
Tell us about how you are combining search and social in your marketing efforts.
[Image courtesy: Top Rank Blog and GroupM.]