Do consumers really buy products they discover on social media? That has been a question that has been hotly debated for some time now and a recent consumer survey completed by Curalate has finally provided some more insight and answers to this question. And here are a few observations from their study:
76% OF CONSUMERS NOW BUY PRODUCTS THEY DISCOVER ONLINE
Most consumers today now discover products and services digitally before they intend to shop and discover in a store. This new “age of the customer” means unprecedented levels and access to product / service information by the customer prior to any physical business engagement. The primary vehicles for this discovery are now mobile (where we can now access information from anywhere) and social (what we access the most on mobile). As a result, the vast majority of consumers now indicate that product discovery on social leads them to a final purchasing decision. The problem is how marketers now measure this because…
85% OF THESE PURCHASES ARE THE RESULT OF DELAYED TRANSACTIONS
As we can see from the adjacent chart, only a small percentage (11%) of consumer product discovery leads to a direct and immediate purchase from social ads. For those who still follow older and now outdated direct-attribution marketing models, this would be considered a problem by those standards alone. However, what this doesn’t account for are the remaining 44% who will buy online later and 21% who still need to experience and purchase a product or service in a store. Together, these delayed conversions (or transactions) account for an additional 65% of sales compared to only 11% from direct response sales alone! In short, social advertising is not a true direct-response marketing medium because only 14% of the total sales resulting from social ads come from an immediate response to them. So when you hear advertisers complain that nobody buys from their social media ads, you need to ask them how they know this because their customers are clearly discovering and buying from social – only how they now buy is different.
FACEBOOK IS STILL THE CLEAR LEADER OF THE SOCIAL DISCOVERY PLATFORMS
Despite all the recent news surrounding Facebook, consumers still spend the vast majority of their social time on this platform and as a result product discovery on Facebook remains a clear and dominant leader. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook and runs off the same ad management platform, Facebook’s effective product discovery market share is really 70% when you combine the two. Another advantage Facebook has over the #2 social property for product discovery (Pinterest) is their ability to manage multiple discovery mediums (text, images, videos, etc.) versus Pinterest’s current image-only platform.
CONVERSION IS STILL A MISS FOR MOST ADVERTISERS
Despite the effectiveness of social media for product discovery, the majority of advertisers are still messing up when it comes to conversions. 65% of consumers indicate that links from social media ads took them to products / services they weren’t even interested in. This perceived “bait and switch” style of advertising (intentionally or not) can kill conversions (high bounce rates) and quickly turn-off consumers leading to poor results. There are a number of factors that can lead to this problem including out-of-inventory product pages, too many choices to choose from on a page, not using specially designed product / service landing pages, and more commonly, ads that lead consumers to a website home-page from a product ad…thereby requiring them to search again for their intended product / service target. All of these problems can and should be addressed by advertisers. But most advertisers help perpetuate this problem because…
MOST ADVERTISERS ARE NOT RUNNING PLATFORM-SPECIFIC ADS ON SOCIAL
Most advertisers today continue to look at social as simply another place to run their 30 and 60 second TV-based ads hoping consumers will see and respond to them. Fully 74% of companies now indicate that they still create social media ads from their TV ads while ignoring how videos behave and convert based on each platform they are designed for. For example, 85% of social videos are now watched with the sound off yet most TV commercials are produced for sound-on watching. Video ads should be engaging content and not interruption-based content like traditional commercials. TV ads are created for unidirectional intake unlike social ads that should be designed to be liked and shared. And video ads should be platform-time-specific yet 66% of marketers still do not shorten the length of their ads to fit the desired social platforms, etc. This why at STNTV we ONLY create platform-specific video content intended to maximize conversions and results based on each individual platform and it’s intended outcomes.
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