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How important is social media when researching products before purchasing? [#ChartOfTheDay]

Author's avatar By Alexander Clark 19 May, 2016
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New research shows the growing importance of social media in influencing purchase in younger demographics

Global Web Index, asked Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 to compare their use of search engines and social media when selecting products:

"Which of the following online sources do you mainly use when you are actively looking for more information about brands, products or services?"

According to this research, search is still the go-to place, particularly amongst older audiences. However, the gap is closing for those aged between 16 and 34, since over one third of the respondents indicated they research products over social media.

Social Media use for product research

As expected, as the age of respondents increases, the usage of social media for research decreases. Users between the ages of 35 and 44 lean more heavily on search, with only 29% of respondents saying they research brands, products or services on social media. For respondents between 45 to 54, this again dropped to 24%, whilst those aged between 55 and 64 are much more heavily dependent on search for research purposes.

Although search engines are still preferred across the board to social media; this perhaps puts to bed the argument that many social media execs have with those who state that Social is only for improving brand awareness, sharing pictures of squirrels on woodpeckers and responsive customer care. It highlights the need to have up-to-date and engaging copy around your product and services across all platforms.

One of the reasons for the using social media for research purposes; may be down to the idea that you can find out the same information, whilst viewing other user's reactions and thoughts in the comments section. In a similar way to those looking to book a holiday using Trip Advisor to check out the hotel before deciding.

  • Source: Global Web Index
  • Date Released: November 2015
  • Sample: Internet Users aged between 16 and 64
Author's avatar

By Alexander Clark

A former member of the Smart Insights team, I’m always on the look out to collaborate with the finest minds in Digital Marketing. Currently working at Silverbean, I have a distinctive interest in all things outreach, content, strategy, and measurement. If you’d like to get in touch, you can do so through my LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. When I’m not planning new campaigns and content, I love playing the Bass Guitar and Drums (not necessarily at the same time) also racking up as many hours as possible on Football Manager and the Rugby pitch.

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