IT professionals cite social media as the most trustworthy online source of information when making purchasing decisions, according to the inaugural IT Social Media Index, which measures social media consumption trends among IT decision-makers and influencers.
Launched by online professional community ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing, the study also seeks to determine how social media tools and user-generated content are used to evaluate IT purchasing decisions.
Among the key findings of the study:
- Executive-level decision-makers spend nearly 3.5 hours per week consuming or participating in social media – the highest usage profile of any IT audience.
- Nearly two-thirds of IT professionals surveyed say social media content and user-generated tools have made for a more informed purchasing decision; nearly three-quarters say such content and tools have made their lives more efficient.
- Overall, vendor websites, followed by user-generated content and editorial websites and trade magazines, are the most referenced information sources for IT purchasing information.
- Vendor websites are referenced often or very often by 61.5% of respondents.
- User-generated content is referenced often or very often by 42.6% of respondents.
- Editorial websites and trade magazines are referenced often or very often by 40.7% of respondents.
- Paid analyst research, catalogs and buyer’s guides are referenced often or very often by 24.75% of respondents.
- IT audiences now spend as much or more time consuming or participating in social media as they do consuming editorial media or vendor content.
Other survey findings:
- For executive decision-makers, the top-level strategic IT goal is to help enable innovation that drives competitive advantage. For other IT audiences, the top goal is to drive efficiency and lower costs.
- Asian IT management and staff spend the most time consuming or participating in social media: 4.45 hours per week.
- More than half of survey respondents noted a modest to substantial increase in IT purchasing budgets for 2007.
About the study: In May 2007, the survey was distributed to more than 400,000 IT professionals around the world. More than 2,000 IT professionals responded, including C-level IT executives, business managers, IT analysts, and administrators and software developers.