The conversion from “like” to purchase is currently a hot topic for brands seeking to optimise social media opportunities; and recent research from YouTube, supported by the IAB, has highlighted the magnitude of this challenge.

The iconic Facebook thumb

The iconic Facebook thumb

60% of people who “like” or share content from brands are not existing customers – despite the fact that 75% of these very same customers consequently feel more positive about the brand.

As a social media agency, we’re obviously interested in really understanding how consumers want to interact with brands on social media and how that impacts purchase.

So, what’s going on?

The research

The YouTube/IAB research explored how 3,000 consumers in the UK, Germany and France, use YouTube and Facebook. It analysed sentiment  about branded content and advertising on these platforms, and asked questions which illuminate the motivations for visiting these platforms.

The answers to these start to offer some hints towards the current gap between liking – and buying from – a brand.

Not the real world

According to the research, 50% of “users cite both sites as a break from everyday life”. Behaviour is predominantly social, particularly on Facebook where keeping up with friends is a priority (66%) and site visitors have a more open agenda (63% “see what they feel like” when they get there). Similarly, on YouTube where “a cool video” is the prime reason for sharing a brands’ video, entertainment, rather than consumption, seem to be the dominant driver.

Could it be as simple as the fact that consumers’ heads aren’t necessarily in a purchasing frame of mind at this point?

And, if so, how do brands make this link?

Getting consumers

The IAB press release highlights the importance of understanding the different “customer mindsets” of each social media platform. YouTube,  for example, is often more associated with “entertainment” or “fun”, whilst consumers are more likely to visit a brand’s Facebook page than their YouTube channel if they want to “hear about or receive a special offer”.

Our ‘Social Shopping Explosion’ report explores what attracts consumers to follow brands on Twitter, and what encourages consumers to “like” a brand on Facebook. Discounts, for example, are far more effective in encouraging Facebook likes than Twitter followers –  and, as the IAB study also notes, when you add category into the mix, the picture changes again…

Step 1 is about understanding how to operate across social media platforms and how to get the message – and offer – right.

Step 2 is about encouraging the purchase once the consumer has started building a relationship with the brand.

Getting real

Whilst social networking sites may be a break from the routine of everyday life and linked to entertainment and fun, “1 in 2 users on each site think it’s a good idea for brands to have their own pages there”. There appears to be an openness to advertising.

Our research explores the changing landscape of recognition and recommendation, and considers some of the new routes to brand affinity and then advocacy, like ideas, inspiration, and reviews. This also highlights that the the opportunity to shift a site user from friend to customer is ready and waiting – but that brands might need to work a bit harder, particularly when brand loyalty is looking like a thing of the past.

© Facebook thumb. Logo.

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