What is the last thing that you bought? Where did you search for it? And one last thing, what made you buy that particular product in the first place?
Interesting question, right? Think over it once again. What made you buy that particular product in the first place? You might have seen your favorite Youtuber or Instagram user that (maybe not a specific video). If it’s a tech product, you must have seen a tech reviewer acknowledging it. According to McKinsey and Company, there are around 1.5 billion social media users today.
A major share of purchases (of all sorts) is made online and in the last 1 to 1.5 years this number has grown significantly thanks to the corona pandemic and lockdown. Online retail is expected to grow exponentially. As the number of active users increases, tech companies are going to try hard to integrate shopping into the online world. After all, at the end of the profits matter. More the footfall (virtual), more is the probability of sales.
GlobalWebIndex shows that around 54% of social media users predominantly use these platforms to research products, and see reviews. Also, according to a Hubspot blog, 71% of users are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals.
Needless to say, that companies are heavily investing in social media marketing. Social networks altered not only consumer habits in general but also the way we promote products.
Meet our team at Social Casa Let’s talk about how consumer behavior is altered by social media marketing in a bit detail.
How Consumer Behavior Is Altered by Social Media Marketing?
We will mainly consider 3 determinants here
1. Short customer journey
2. The influence of social proof
3. The effect of Influencers on decisions
Short customer journey:
In the era of eCommerce, the consumer journey includes all the digital touchpoints that a brand has with a consumer.
This journey, nowadays, has shrunken a lot thanks to easy access to social media platforms. Earlier, as many of you may remember, people used to find a product on TV or radio ads multiple times, and after a few weeks or months (a high chance of losing that desire in the time period) they would go shopping and finally buy the product. Now, this entire process can take minutes.
According to the Deloitte report, 29% of social media users make a purchase on the same day of using social media. That means that once they see a product, they simply visit that webpage or account and buy it: there’s no waiting period before they go shopping. In this new world, everything is just at your fingertips. Moreover, the report further mentions that consumers who are influenced by social media are 4 times more likely to spend more on purchases.
Social media platforms have made research more accessible to end-users. Bad reviews are as accessible to the consumer as good reviews. 62% of customers say they share negative experiences online with other people. Hence, it is much more important to keep an eye on the online repute and seek out reviews on these platforms.
The influence of social proof:
We all are social animals, and we have been giving each other recommendations for centuries. In fact, social proof is not a new concept. The difference is, these recommendations and anti-recommendations can now be heard by thousands and millions of people.
A study conducted by Forbes concluded that a whopping 81% of respondents admitted that posts from family and friends directly influence their buying decisions, while 78% of people said that social media posts of commercial companies influence their buying decisions. Social proof plays an important role in decision-making. But more and more people on social media don’t just follow family and friends- they also follow influencers. Hence it is also important to know about influencer marketing. Pro tip: – If you are a firm looking for marketing options, do not forget to keep a chunk of your budget to spend on influencers.
The effect of Influencers on decisions:
Influencer marketing utilizes leading and niche content creators to improve brand awareness, drive traffic and convey your brand’s image to the target audience. This potentially increases a brand’s reach to its audience.
We would like you to have a look at these statistics:
- Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew by 1500% in the last three years.
- 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions.
- 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective
When Apple released iPad Pro to the market. I opened YouTube and just searched iPad Pro. I was not surprised to see at least 10 videos reviewing iPad uploaded exactly on the same day and fairly at the same time.
Obviously, this was not a mere coincidence. They were instructed and, in most cases, paid to review this product and include certain selling points as well (including comparisons).
Many companies, nowadays, adapt this change in order to reach huge audience at the same time. Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be influenced by influencers.
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The current statistics and our daily internet experience demonstrate that it’s hard to argue that social media influence the purchase decision. The overall bearing of social media on consumer purchase decisions can be understood by some determinants: social proof, influencer following, and the accessibility of the marketplace.
On the other hand, it is becoming more and more difficult to make the brand stand out on social media and get a loyal customer base. Focusing on the right platform, building creative social media marketing campaigns, and using up-to-date technologies will play a pivotal role.
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Title image courtesy: Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels