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Five of the top nine digital channels shoppers are using to discover new brands are social media platforms, with Facebook being used more than websites by Americans for this purpose. Indeed, about half (49%) of the nearly 1,000 shoppers surveyed for a report from Criteo said they discover new brands through Facebook.

Instagram (27%), Pinterest (22%), Twitter (14%), and Snapchat (12%) – the other social media channels – identified, don’t have quite the same heft as Facebook in promoting brand awareness, likely due to their lower reach. Nonetheless, significant proportions of respondents reported discovering new brands through these social media channels, with YouTube also a key player (40% using for brand discovery). Research has revealed that social media is especially important for younger shoppers, with a study by Kantar Media noting that half (50%) of adults age 18-34 use social media to find out more about a brand and its services.

It’s also worth noting that while social media is a key place for discovering a brand, once shoppers are further down the purchase journey, social media is not as important to shoppers’ decision-making, with search instead cited as more of a purchase driver. Separately, a survey by SUMO Heavy revealed that fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) adults say they have made a purchase directly through social media.

Given this point, marketers should note that 46% of shoppers also use websites to discover new brands – which obviously is also a default point of purchase for online shoppers. Because of this, it is advisable that brand websites are user-friendly, especially on their site search function. RichRelevance research from last year showed that some 60% of US shoppers believe that the search box on a website is extremely important.

Value Is the Top Reason Shoppers Return

Once shoppers have made a purchase, what brings them back to a brand to purchase again? Best value for the money was the top reason given, cited by two-thirds (66%) of respondents. Ranking second and third among reasons given for returning to a brand were the lowest price (51%) and best product selection (49%).

Somewhat surprisingly, fewer (40%) respondents listed good customer service as a reason to return to a brand after purchase. Customer service departments have been collaborating with marketers for some time now, with the majority of service teams feeling empowered to work with marketers. Furthermore, brand marketers also find that excellent customer service is the most effective factor in breaking through to customers.

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