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A fifth of consumers check a brand's social presence before purchase

27th Jul 2016
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A brand’s social media activity is playing a major role in consumer purchasing decisions, according to research conducted by TrustPilot.

20% of people now check a business’s social presence before making a first purchase with them.

The study of 2,000 UK consumers found that 29% saw brands as “more human” if they were actively engaged on social networks.   

Advertising seemingly doesn’t count as engagement, however. 24% of respondents say they trust companies who grow their social media audience by interacting with people. In contrast, 23% don’t trust companies who advertise on social media in order to grow their network.

Dr. Jillian Ney, a digital behavioural scientist and self-titled ‘doctor of social media’, says the results display the need for brands to position themselves as advisors on social networks, as opposed to simply allowing their profiles to be a vehicle for promoting products and services.        

“The results of the research are interesting. They highlight that even new social advertising is regarded as a sales tool and has a lower level of trust and acceptance with consumers.

“On the other hand, organic content seems to be helping customers determine the service characteristics of brands and their communities, helping them to reduce purchase risk. Brands need to understand what content and triggers consumers want to see from social content and plan accordingly – they need to have the right conversations.”

Recent Adobe research found brands drove an average UK website traffic rate of 4.6% from social networks to their company websites, the highest rate in Europe.

Yet just 7% of respondents ranked adverts as a form of content they engage with. Only 45% of European consumers agree that social media channels are getting better at providing relevant content and adverts.

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