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Americans Say Social Media Doesn’t Persuade Them On Purchases

Face-to-face recommendations still preferred to social media

From what you read on the internet, you would think that social media is the most powerful marketing tool going. Whilst it has made a massive difference to how businesses set up their strategies, the majority of American’s say that social media has no influence at all on their purchasing decisions.

social media influence
Source: lovejenn.com

Despite the great numbers of American’s that use social media sites on a daily basis, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, only 5% of users said that social media has “a great influence” on their purchasing decisions in a recent piece of research; the results of which were published in the new State of the American Consumer report. 30% said that these platforms have “some influence” on their purchasing decisions. It does not intend to say that social media’s influence is not big in this world, but rather that some people who thought that social media is the predominant source of marketing may have to reconsider.

Even millennials, a generation of people that companies see as the key social media audience, tend to admit that social media marketing is not much of a factor in their key decision-making. The report focused on four major groups of people, and the millennials (those born after 1980) were the set of people who said that social media had a little influence on their buying decisions (50%). These stats were deceiving somewhat as the millennials were just as likely to say that it had no influence at all.

Predictably social media’s influence on American’s purchasing habits decreases with age. In the group traditionalists (those born prior to 1946), 75% said that social media does not have a single bit of impact on whether they purchase an item or a service. The generational differences here reflect the general age range of people who use social media on a regular basis.

When looking at the general reasons for the use of social media, the results were unsurprising to say the least. A massive 94% of people declared that they use social media to connect with friends and family, and this illustrates the number one reason as to why people generally invest in these sites, or so they say. 29% said they use social media to keep up to date with trends and product reviews. 20% said they visit such sites to comment on reviews, and write them themselves.

social media influence
Source: buzzcreators.com

The alarming statistic for companies is that among American consumers who “Like” or follow a company on Facebook or Twitter, 34% said that social media has no influence on purchasing decisions. Whilst a good amount of people in this section do take social media into account when buying services and products (53%), the research showed that people were more likely to seek advice from friends when considering a purchase.

Despite the obvious flaws of quantitative research, including the unreliability of the answers due to the wording of the questions, this research does show that maybe social media is not as influential as some companies would like it to be. US firms spent a combined $5.1 billion on social media advertising in 2013. There is a strong belief that social media is a heavy influence on consumers, but it would appear that people prefer to seek out face-to-face recommendations before making a purchase.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Americans Say Social Media Doesn’t Persuade Them On Purchases Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Rating: 5
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