Monday, February 4, 2013

Does Social Media Impact Purchase Decisions?

I published my first-ever post using Storify.  I found it more than a little difficult to use, but I'm glad I finally got around to giving it a test drive.

Here is the post, which is about the wildly contradictory data around the association between social media and purchase decisions. It includes links and data from over a half dozen studies, surveys and research reports.  Some show social drives substantial purchase behavior; some could find evidence for almost no association between the two.

8 comments:

Reff said...

Regarding: Storify. I recently used it in a post and I was reminded how hard it was to port the post into Wordpress. Interesting to hear it's also the case for Blogger. In researching my Storify issues it seems the problems have existed for a long while which makes me wonder about the platform. Thankfully the Storify stories are exported into my blog so if Storify goes away I don't lose my content.

Regarding your post. Good work researching so many reports on this topic. My own perspective is that we're still in the early days of "social selling". <-- Part of the problem is these two words are not supposed to go next to each other. What seems to be working best for social is bottom of the funnel activities like managing reviews/recommendations (Yelp, Bloggers, etc) and focusing efforts on word of mouth by amplifying brand advocates.

I look forward to seeing the social comparatives to coupons and catalogs. Fab seems to do a pretty good job at buying social awareness by giving credits to customers that share their purchases socially.

As always, thanks for sharing your insights!
-John @iamreff

Augie Ray said...

Thanks for the comment John.

I found it easy to port the Storify post into my blog--I just used the embed copy and pasted it in as HTML. My complaint was that collecting articles to include within Storify seemed kludgy, and it didn't always work. At the end of the day, I just don't have that much difficulty putting links in my Blogger blog, so I wasn't sure Storify added much necessary functionality.

I am thinking of writing a blog post on social selling--because I hate the term. If social is a place where the consumer is in charge, then it's a medium for buying, not selling. Of course, where there's buying, there's selling, but a sales mindset is the wrong way to go about it.

I'll give this some more thought, but you've sparked some ideas. Thanks!

Tom Snyder said...

Could it be that the the difference in impact was based on surveys where people SAID Social media impacted them overestimated that impact, where the ones that were based on the actual trackable actions showed little impact, once again proving that we shouldn't watch what people say, but rather what they DO?

Augie Ray said...

Tom, that's the point I tried to make at the end of the post. Is it possible people overestimate social's impact on their purchases? Yes. Is it possible studies could find that over 50% say social effects their purchases while actual tracking data says it doesn't? I don't buy it.

I just think tracking data may not be the way to get to the bottom of this question.

Constantin Basturea said...

Great post (as usual), Augie!

I would suggest exploring academic studies that might shed some light on this topic (they have the advantage that they have more rigorous methodologies than what we usually see in trade studies) - probably SSRN and Google Scholar are good places to start searching.

Here are a few links that you might find of interest:
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2078586
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2048614
http://aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2012/155/
http://www.journals.marketingpower.com/doi/abs/10.1509/jmr.09.0401

Hope this helps.

Augie Ray said...

Constantin, thanks for the links. Much appreciated--I'll enjoy poring through them!

Jerome Pineau said...

At the end of the day, people buy from places they trust and can engage with -- and listen to them. You can quantify that light or heavy but it's just basic common sense in the grand scheme of things. As social enhances the above-mentioned conditions, then it drives business. To me, that's kind of obvious :)

Augie Ray said...

Jerome,

Obviously, you and I are in agreement. Still, I think something we take as being so painfully obvious should be more easily measurable. I still am unclear why Forrester and IBM found so little to measure here.