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As Corporate Websites Fade, Retailers Follow Consumers to Social Media for Sales

Jim Tobin.
By: Jim Tobin  |   October 6, 2008  |   View Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled in e-Marketer data into this blog, but they often have great information. New research has found that corporate websites have fallen to 5th place in the list of valuable sources of product information as consumers turn to social media for trusted information.

As a result, retailers are turning to blogs, Facebook and more. (Not really news, as that’s exactly what we do for all of our clients, but what is news is the new data.)

Corporate websites fade in importance

In virtually every speech I give, I tell brand marketers that their website is less important than it was yesterday, in part because people are looking elsewhere and in part because they haven’t kept up with the features and functionality that consumers want. Today, nearly 75% of online shoppers choose retailers based on social media feedback. In priority order, here are consumers most trusted sources of product information:

Consumers use of social media for purchasing

40% of retailers turn to social networks

In August 2008, Internet Retailer found that 39.3% of retailers surveyed were using social networking sites to help increase sales. Among them, Facebook was the most popular for social media marketing:

Facebook edges MySpace for social media marketing

This may be because Facebook has many more legitimate free or low-cost opportunities than MySpace. MySpace reps frequently talk about $50,000 per month minimums, while Facebook social ads can be utilized for low budgets, similar to Google AdWords buys, and Facebook fan pages are free.

(MySpace now has a social ads type platform in beta, but most of their marketing success stories, like Adidas, were big budget affairs. Of course, MySpace made about 4x more money than Facebook, so their strategy may be the more lucrative.)

We’ve been preaching since day one that the brand conversation has left the corporate website, and this data certainly validates that. In my upcoming book, Social Media is a Cocktail Party (due out later this month), we talk more about how to find those conversations and enter them appropriately. But it’s clear that business is trying to figure out how to join the party.


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