“Social media are not the powerful and persuasive marketing force many companies hoped they would be.” — Gallup, Inc.
That’s one of several key conclusions from a report issued this past summer by research firm Gallup, Inc. The report examined the influence of social media on consumer purchase decision-making.
The Gallup findings are based on web and mail polling it conducted with ~18,000 American consumers during 2013.
When asked about the influence of social media on buyer behaviors, ~62% of the respondents reported that social media has “no influence at all” on their purchasing decisions.
By contrast, ~30% stated that social media has “some influence,” while only ~5% reported that social media has “a great deal of influence” over their purchasing decisions.
Compare these middling results with the fact that U.S. companies spent well over $5 billion on social media advertising in 2013, and the two figures seem out of proportion.
Actually, the disconnect between “people and products” on social media shouldn’t be too surprising, in that ~94% of the Gallup respondents reported that the reason they go on social media platforms is to connect with friends and family members.
The percentage of people who use social media to follow trends and/or to find reviews or other information on products is far lower: ~29% according to the Gallup survey.
But it’s the magnitude of the difference that may be surprising.
And here’s another thing: In its report, Gallup states that “consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content.”
It’s yet another data point supporting the growing realization that social media has failed to live up to its early marketing hype. So it should come as little surprise that more companies have been refining their strategies to stress quality over quantity when it comes to both fan acquisition and to published content.
More findings from the Gallup report can be viewed here.