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WalkerSands-Social-Engagement-With-Brands-Dec2013While social media may not be a significant direct referrer of traffic to e-commerce websites, it does have an influence on product discovery and purchase decisions, according to a pair of studies. Walker Sands’ “2014 Future of Retail Study” [download page] finds that almost 1 in 5 consumers claim to have discovered a product through Pinterest, while YouTube videos have influenced a purchase at least once for 53% of respondents. A survey from Social Media Link, meanwhile, indicates that about 2 in 3 social media users trust the product and service recommendations they find on Facebook. That’s a slightly higher percentage than trust blogs (63%), retail websites (63%), Pinterest (56%) and YouTube (51%), though it’s unclear whether or not those results are confined to users of each channel.

Reports, such as this one, have shown that engagement with brands on social media is rising, and the Walker Sands study indicates that 3 in 5 respondents engage with brands on social media, with almost all of those (55% overall) doing so on Facebook. More claim to have engaged with brands on Twitter (21%) than on Pinterest (10%), a result which may reflect greater adoption of the former platform.

The study also demonstrates that the most common reason why consumers interact with brands on social media is for coupons and promotions (78%), ahead of discovering the latest news and products from brands (65%), receiving customer support (24%) and to see what others are buying (19%). That’s not surprising given recent survey results indicating that for Facebook users, discounts and promotions are the most appealing brand posts.

About the Data: The Walker Sands’ 2014 Future of Retail study surveyed 1,046 consumers across the U.S. on their spending behaviors in the past year, and preferences for future spending.

The Social Media Link data is based on 10,337 survey respondents from Smiley360’s National influencer community in October 2013.

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