Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?

Discussion
Photo: RetailWire
Jul 21, 2016

MarketingCharts staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.

Social media ads have seen rapid spending increases in recent years, and that increasing flow of money is having a profound effect on social advertising’s status as a consumer purchase influencer, according to MarketingCharts’ 3rd annual “Advertising Channels with the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers” report. As a result, social ads now are said to influence purchases for more American adults than radio ads, despite having lower reach among the adult population.

Marketingcharts purchase influencers
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Not surprisingly, social ads have their largest impact on youth. This year, one in five Millennials (18-34) surveyed report having made a purchase in the prior six months due to ads on social networks. That marks a 65 percent jump from the 2014 study, in which fewer than one in eight (12.1 percent) reported such an influence from social ads.

That increase catapults social ads into the realm of the top purchase influencers for Millennials. Ads on social platforms outrank direct mail, radio, print and a host of other media as stated purchase influencers for this demographic and are closing in on TV advertising (cited by 25.8 percent as having led to a purchase).

Part of social ads’ rise in perceived influence can probably be attributed to a greater presence. In a new addition this year, the study ranks the media in which consumers feel most exposed to advertising. The top response for Millennials? Social media.

The next-leading location for Millennials’ ad exposure is smartphones, a result that is likely tied to the prominence of social media use on these devices. One cautionary note on social media’s reach came from a recent IAB study on multiscreen video that showed almost half of Millennials (18-34) felt that there are too many ads on their smartphones, compared to one-third who feel that way about ads on their desktops.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will social media soon eclipse television ads as the leading purchase influencer? What factors are still restraining social media’s impact as a purchase driver and the ability for stores to capitalize on its reach?

Braintrust
"The only reason social ads would eclipse TV ads anytime soon is because Millennials increasingly do not watch TV on TVs."
"Now that we have a vehicle that can be measured much more accurately and immediately some want to decry its effectiveness and declare it DOA."
"With the popular use of DVR devices, ads on TV will continue to be sped through and ignored."

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9 Comments on "Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?"

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Kim Garretson
BrainTrust
A few comments. 1. Since this was a survey of Millennials I was most interested in the last number for “none of the ads influenced me to make a purchase.” The numbers of Millennials using ad blocking is more than 60 percent. 2. Social ads, especially in Facebook, continue to upset Millennials when items they’ve viewed on retail sites trigger a barrage of retargeting ads for days/weeks, especially when the ads are for purchased products and products out-of-stock. 3. Just read the trade media about the failure of Buy buttons in social ads to understand that the jury is out… Read more »
Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Oh those social ads that refer to stuff I’ve already bought drive me crazy. I did a ton of online searching and buying while building a new home and the incessant ads haunted me for over a year! Ugh.

Kim Garretson
BrainTrust

And imagine the user experience of seeing ads on products you found out-of-stock with many viewers thinking this means the product is back. Then clicking back disappoints you a second time. And retailers and brands continue to spend big retargeting dollars on this crazy way to market. That’s why offering alerting on back-in-stock to then suspend retargeting is the solution.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Survey research is really not accurate on purchase influence because the majority of purchase decisions are centered in the subconscious, which has no “voice box.” So when people are asked what influenced them, their rational brain makes a choice of what to say. Not really connected to the emotional trigger.

Media (ads or otherwise) can and does trigger emotions which do trigger purchases, so I’m not saying ads have no influence. But to rely on just survey stats to say social is more influential than other types of media is not a reliable measure.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust
This is really interesting. For years we marketers and agency types argued that you couldn’t accurately measure the direct purchase influence of TV advertising. That it was a “steady drip, drip, drip” that created a brand image that pushed our product into the evoked set of possible products to fill a need when the consumer had that need. And that that effect made our ad dollars well spent. (“Please don’t cut my budget Mr. CFO! I promise sales will go up next month when the advertising kicks in!”) Now that we have a vehicle that can be measured much more… Read more »
Lee Kent
BrainTrust
I am going to need a bit more information here. I would like to know what is considered an ad in this survey. Millennials have a real adversity to being sold to, however if we are talking about say a brands presence on Snapchat, I can hardly call that an ad in the old sense of the word. Also, if the consumer chooses to follow a particular brand and that brand has items that pop up in their stream, do we call that an ad? It is something that does not require listening to or losing time on. These micro-moments… Read more »
Jerry Gelsomino
BrainTrust

With the popular use of DVR devices, ads on TV will continue to be sped through and ignored. I think the biggest revolution in influencing buying behavior is Pokemon Go. How will this change habits? It is still not fully realized.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Social ads can have relevance to younger consumers, however, they aren’t all that willing to click on ads as much as one may think, as detailed in this study. The response rates for these ads are not all that impressive. Will social ads surpass TV ads soon in response rates? Perhaps, however, innovators continue to evolve their tactics in social channels to capture the shortening attention of the shoppers … of all ages.

Brittain Ladd
Guest

This study reinforces why I continue to state very clearly that I believe it is only a matter of time before Facebook makes the decision to become an e-commerce retailer, probably by acquiring Jet.Com and/or Pitney Bowes. Facebook, their their platform, and membership in excess of one billion people is well-positioned to expand into e-commerce.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The only reason social ads would eclipse TV ads anytime soon is because Millennials increasingly do not watch TV on TVs."
"Now that we have a vehicle that can be measured much more accurately and immediately some want to decry its effectiveness and declare it DOA."
"With the popular use of DVR devices, ads on TV will continue to be sped through and ignored."

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