Since a long time, marketers have been trying to map the path to purchase. Online purchase path is complex and may differ according to industry or target customers. Over the year, complexities have increased. Today online customers relay on a number of resources to make a well informed purchase.
The results of a study conducted by comScore and GroupM indicate that social media marketing critics need to rethink their strategy. The role played by social media and SEO SEM marketing in purchase decisions is growing. According to a survey of the US online buyers, 51% users relied only on search to make purchase decisions, while 48% relied on a combination of search and social media for the same.
Also, the search click through rates jumped up 94%, when users were exposed to a combination of social media and brand specific search results. This is a strong indicator that investments in social media channels can significantly improve search performance by influencing purchase decisions.
During brand research, consumers gave highest importance to friend’s opinions. While 30% customers relied on user reviews, only 17% and 9% relied on Facebook and Twitter respectively. So the marketers need to look beyond these standard social media channels.
The ForeSee Result finding emphasizes the importance of product review websites. In the three month period before purchase, only around 1% consumers engaged with a brand’s standard social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, but 16% consulted industry specific blogs that offered reviews and opinions. Marketers need to track their own search and social media efforts to better understand their online customer purchase path.