1 in 4 online shoppers, who shop at least quarterly online and login to their Facebook account at least monthly, have made a purchase based on a social recommendation, details Sociable Labs in a March 2012 report. 62% of survey respondents said they had ever read a comment on their Facebook page from a friend talking about a product they purchased, while of those, three-quarters clicked on the product link in their friend’s comment. Once at the retailer’s site, 53% purchased the product they learned about through their friend’s comment. Additionally, these eventual customers are happy to pass along the favour, as 81% identify as sharers themselves.
Other research has also shown the influence of social networks on shoppers: according to a study released in October 2011 by Performics and conducted by ROI Research, among participants who use social networks at least occasionally during the shopping process, recommendations from social networks (58%) are trusted by more than recommendations from shopping sites (57%) and deal sites (53%).
Deal Sharing Top Reason for Product Comments
Meanwhile, among social sharers, who make up 38% of the Sociable Labs respondent sample, the primary motivation for commenting on products is to pass along deals they found with friends so that they can get the same deal, cited by 41%. Roughly one-quarter said they want to share the reasons why they chose the product. However, the comments that make readers most interested in learning more are the ones detailing the reasons why the product was chosen (43%), ahead of ones containing discount offers (41%).
Social Proofing Drives Engagement
Significant opportunities exist for retailers to drive higher engagement through social proofing, suggests the report. In fact, more than 3 in 5 respondents said that they are likely to stay and shop on a website if they are shown their friends’ activities on the site. Additionally, 57% are more likely to make a purchase there if they see a list showing their friends who have made a purchase on the website.
- The primary concerns respondents give about sharing a product purchase on Facebook are that it is too trivial to share, and that they would not want their friends to think they are pushing a product. In fact, almost three-quarters of respondents said they are more likely to share if it remained on the retail website and was not posted back to their Facebook feed.
- The most common benefit cited for seeing that friends made a purchase on a site is that respondents would know who to ask for an opinion. Roughly one-quarter said they would trust the site more.
- 48% of respondents said that friend comments shared on Facebook are extremely or very helpful when looking for a product to buy, rivaling the proportion who said that about Google search (49%).