Social Media’s Role in Product Research and the Consumer Purchase Journey

With U.S. users utilizing an average of seven U.S. social media accounts, and 98% of internet users visiting or utilizing a social network in the past month – social media is playing an increasingly important role in many consumer’s purchase journey.

The recent US Market Report from Global Web Index showcased a few key findings to help marketers better understand the role social media plays in product research and purchase.

Let’s look at a few interesting key findings from this report that can help inform social media strategy and execution.

Social Networks are Among the Top 4 Product Research Channels

According to US consumers, social networks are nearly tied with product/brand sites when it comes to researching products they are looking to purchase.

Also important for marketers to note is the critical impact of consumer reviews and search engines on product discovery. These channels can be positively influenced by a social media strategy that focuses on a mixture of content that includes blogs, articles, and product reviews.ProductResearch

Key Takeaway:  Social media strategies should look to integrate consumer reviews and branded and third-party content should always be optimized for search. As consumers increasingly leverage multiple devices and platforms, marketers should take a closer look at the intersection of their website, social, reviews, and SEO strategy.

Brand Advocacy is Fueled Most By Rewards, Quality Products, and Customer Service

Not only are US consumers relying on reviews to help make product decisions, but a good many of these same customers are also producing new reviews. With over a quarter of US consumers reported posting a review in the past month, marketers should start looking at the key reasons that encourage US consumers to advocate or review for the brand online.

This research revealed that more than half of US consumers would advocate for a brand that gave them rewards, discounts and free gifts. This is followed closely by companies that create high-quality products or have great customer service.

What is fascinating with this research is that these factors beat out simple love for the brand. So, even brands with loyal followings will still need to consider how other factors play a role in encouraging online reviews.

Key Takeaway:  Consider how rewards and incentives are provided to key customers in an effort to drive increased advocacy. If you aren’t a “discount” brand, consider a strategy that may reward top customers who believe and are more likely to advocate for your product. Also, consider the role that social care and attentive customer service plays in encouraging brand advocacy and additional positive reviews.


Online Purchase Drivers Should Be Considered in Social Media Execution

Given social audiences are likely to engage via mobile devices and highly likely to make online purchases, social media content should test different creative approaches, ad units, and targeting to drive more website traffic and purchase conversion.

As you can see from this data, free delivery was the most effective benefit to encourage online purchases, followed by coupons and discounts and reviews from other customers.


Key Takeaway: Marketers should test a variety of these top key drivers of online purchases in their content strategy and execution within social. Through testing and learning different approaches, marketers can begin to tailor specific messages to customers at certain phases of the customer journey to drive higher conversion.

Need Help Driving Audiences Through the Customer Journey?

This research reveals how social media is impacting customers at critical stages of the customer journey. It’s also why we’ve developed a new content and paid media approach called Content That Converts, which can help drive audiences from research to purchase effectively and efficiently.

Are you interested in seeing how you can better leverage your social media efforts to drive increased customer interest and sales? Let’s start the conversation and let’s see how our team can help.

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