Social Impact Study 2012: Social Sharing as Helpful as Google Search in Shopping
Today, we are publishing a new consumer research study called Social Impact, based on a survey of 1088 online shoppers who use Facebook, about the influence and impact of social sharing (sharing comments about products with friends) on consumer purchase. The survey, conducted between January 15 and February 8, 2012, looked into the minds of online shoppers to reveal how they view social sharing and how it fits into their shopping and purchase decision making process.
We included many of the questions we’ve received from retailers and media companies about consumer behavior and motivation as it relates to social sharing, including:
- What percentage of consumers take action on social sharing?
- How does consumer-to-consumer sharing influence referral visits and purchases?
- What drives shoppers to act on social sharing and how you can increase those actions?
- Why do sharers share and what will increase this sharing?
- What is the value of “Social Proofing” to consumers (seeing friend activity on a site)?
Here are the top takeaways from this study:
1. Social Sharing is a mainstream shopping activity for discovering what products to buy
62% of online shoppers have read product-related comments from their friends on Facebook (example below).
The #1 value to shoppers in reading social sharing is that it “helps them discover a product they might want to buy”.
2. Social Sharing causes consumers to act
75% of shoppers who read social sharing comments have clicked on the product link in their friends’ Facebook posts, taking them to the product page on a retailer’s website. 53% of the shoppers who have clicked through to the retailer’s site have made a purchase.
A core reason for these actions is that shoppers see social sharing as one of the most helpful tools for finding the right product to buy.
3. Once consumers are exposed to positive social sharing experiences, it creates a virtuous cycle of social sharing and purchase
81% of consumers who purchase products they learn about through social sharing are valuable social sharers themselves, thus creating a cycle of sharing and buying.
4. “Social Proofing” – showing friends activities on a website - significantly increases shopper confidence in buying on that website
32% of visitors are more likely to stay and shop on a site that shows activities of shoppers who have purchased there, even when those shoppers are not their friends. When the shared activities include the shopping behavior of the visitor’s friends, that number nearly doubles to 62%.
With respect to purchase, 57% of shoppers are more likely to purchase on a site that shows their friends who have purchased on that site.
5. A key to maximizing the traffic and sales from social sharing is to match the motivations of sharers to share with the motivations of shoppers to act
When comparing sharer and shopper motivations, a key takeaway from our study is to encourage sharers to include the reasons they bought the product, as this is the strongest motivator for shoppers to act.
The Social Impact Study validates that consumers are highly influenced by their friends in considering what products to buy. And that social sharing is a major source of product discovery for a significant percentage of consumers. If you haven’t already incorporated social sharing applications into your ecommerce experience, we recommend that you do.
To drive significantly higher-velocity sharing, you should consider leveraging Facebook’s Timeline Apps initiative. To learn about our “All-in-one Social Sharing and Curation Suite – EverShare™”, please click here.