Despite the hype surrounding social media and its potential to drive consumer engagement statistics from PowerReviews and the e-tailing group show that search is the still the source of most online product purchases, says Google.
In a post on the Google Retail blog, the company’s Heidi Spector noted that statistics from the search engine and two research documents – The Complete State of Shopping 2010 and 2010 Social Shopping Study – shows that for online retailers, a social network presence will probably have less direct benefits to sales conversions than targeted SEO or search engine marketing.
Spector says that when consumers “friend” a brand on a social networking site, the main outcome is that they visit the site more. “However, when it comes to researching new purchases, customers rely on familiar sources such as friends and family and search engines,” she says.
According to the figures from PowerReviews and the e-tailing group (a research group of 100 e-commerce sites), when consumers start to look for information on a product online and research prices, offers and other such information they overwhelmingly turn to search. Whilst 20% of consumers will ‘go to the source’ and visit a brand’s website and a further 18% will visit a retailer of the product, more than half (57%) will start with a search query.
Meanwhile, just 2% of users will pose a question on Twitter and only 3% will use social network sites to find out more info on products they’re looking to purchase.
“Consumers rely on search to begin their product searches, while only 5% turn to social media,” says Spector. “Make sure to maximise your branding through social networks and close on sales through your search campaigns.”