Study: Social Media Rates High But Fails to Drive Retail Web Traffic
A survey by ForeSee Results found that just five percent of respondents
cite social media as the medium that "most influenced" them to visit
a retailer’s website. The number one response was familiarity with the brand,
mentioned by 38 percent, followed by promotional emails (19 percent). Search
engine results, word of mouth and ads (newspaper, TV, radio or magazine) were
each cited by eight percent.
Three percent cited blogs, while two percent named
both shopping comparison websites and product review websites.
The survey of
more than 10,000 online shoppers was part of its annual E-Retail Satisfaction
Asked how they preferred to hear about sales and promotions from retailers,
social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) also came in low, with only
eight percent preferring this method of communication. First was promotional
e-mails (64 percent), followed by postal mail (25 percent), the company’s website
(21 percent), and TV (11 percent). Ten percent "don’t want communications" with
retailers. Scoring even lower than social media was mobile phone text messages
or alerts (5 percent) and radio (3 percent).
Though only eight percent
said social media was their preferred way to hear from retailers, more than
half seem to be willing to connect with retailers in some way on social media.
When asked which social media site would be their first choice, 40 percent
chose Facebook, followed by Twitter (4 percent), LinkedIn, MySpace, and "another
website not listed"(all at 2 percent),
and Flickr (1 percent). Still, forty seven percent ranked "none" as
the first choice of communications via social media.
More encouraging for social
media, when asked to rate the Facebook presence of the Top 40 retailers (by
sales volume), the average score was 80. That’s higher than the average rating
of 78 given to those retailers’ websites and also well above the rating of
64 given to Facebook itself.
"This is a bit confusing, but basically, people are more satisfied with
retailers’ Facebook pages than they are with the retail websites themselves
or with Facebook itself," wrote Mr. Freed. "This information could
mean that while Facebook stumbles as a website, it provides retailers with
a valuable customer touchpoint that can actually be very satisfying."
Freed concluded that the retail industry "shouldn’t give short shrift
to tried-and-true online marketing tactics in favor of newer media." Indeed,
he said "serious thought" should be taken to see if social media
is worth the investment.
"If the answer is yes, they need to make the most of it by making sure
that interactions on social media meet the needs and expectations of customers.
Otherwise, the effort is wasted and could even be detrimental to the business," he
- Do Social Media Results Justify Investment? – Foresee Results
- Social Media Marketing: Do Retail Results Justify Investment? – Foresee
Discussion Question: What do you make of the ForeSee Results study and its conclusions? Would you expect these results to change if re-tested a year from now? How should retailers currently be integrating with Facebook?