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VisionCritical-Social-Media-Inspired-Purchases-July2013Consumers who interact with brands on social networks are just as likely to end up buying a product in-store as they are to do so online, finds Vision Critical in a new study [download page] that examines the path “from social to sale.” Based on a series of online surveys conducted over 17 months (February 2012 to June 2013) across 3 countries (US, Canada, and the UK) and 5,657 respondents, the study finds that brand interactions on Facebook are more likely to lead to a purchase than engagement via Twitter or Pinterest.

In the study, brand interactions are referred to as items that are “shared and favorited.” That entails the following activities:

  • Pinning/repinning/liking on Pinterest;
  • Sharing/liking/commenting on Facebook; and
  • Tweeting/retweeting or favoriting on Twitter.

Asking social media users whether they had ever purchased an item either in-store or online after sharing or favoriting it, the survey revealed that:

  • 38% of Facebook users had purchased such an item (30% in-store; 29% online);
  • 29% of Pinterest users had made a purchase (21% in-store; 22% online); and
  • 22% of Twitter users had purchased an item (17% in-store; 18% online).

The results suggest that brand interactions on these networks are as likely to drive in-store as online buys. Retailers aren’t so sure, though: in a recent study, 17% said they believe their social presence has a lot of value in driving in-store sales, but 37% said it had only some value and 46% little to no value at all.

Other Findings:

  • Among Twitter purchasers (those who purchased after sharing or favoriting), 48% of in-store buyers had an income of $50k or more, compared to 39% of those who bought online.
  • In-store purchasers from each network were most likely to buy from a discount retailer (26% among Pinterest in-store purchasers; 43% among Facebook in-store purchasers; and 31% among Twitter purchasers).
  • When they shared or favorited an item, 29% of Pinterest users had not thought about purchasing it yet. Only 16% of Facebook and 9% of Twitter users concurred.

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