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Mintel-Social-Media-Purchase-Influence-Aug2014Just 9% of social networkers claim to have made a purchase by clicking on a social media ad, with that figure higher among men aged 18-34 (21%) and parents (19%), reports Mintel in newly-released data from a recent study. Interestingly, though, social networkers were slightly more likely to say they had purchased a product they saw advertised without clicking an ad, with 11% of respondents professing to having done so. That result suggests that social ads’ influence extends beyond direct conversions. It also brings to mind a study released late last year by ChoiceStream which found that consumers often respond to online ads with actions other than clicks. According to that survey, when consumers see an online ad that interests them, 44% of those who take action say they do so by clicking on the ad, while the remainder say they take a different action, such as searching for the product or company in question or typing in the company’s URL address directly to visit its website.

Social media ads do appear to have some influence over youth, per findings contained in a recent MarketingCharts Debrief [download page] on the stated purchase influence of various advertising channels. Of 11 channels identified, ads on social networking platforms ranked third in stated purchase influence among Millennial respondents. Social ads’ stated influence dropped markedly among older respondents, though.

Of course, social’s influence extends beyond ads, and the Mintel study indicates that 28% of social networking users claim to have visited a company’s website after seeing content from the brand, and close to one-quarter say they’ve looked for more information on a search engine after seeing a video, image, or other social media post that a company put on social media. Roughly 8 in 10 claim to have viewed or shared content from a company or visited a company’s social media page.

Overall, half of social networkers said that social media has no influence on their purchase decisions – implying that the other half are influenced to some degree.

Mintel forecasts total advertising spending on social media in the US to exceed $11 billion in 2017. By comparison, a recent forecast from BIA/Kelsey predicted that social ad spend in the US would reach $13.4 billion in 2017.

About the Data: Information concerning Mintel study methodologies can be accessed here.

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