Social media's role in customer engagement identified
There is a signficant correlation between consumer's online search behaviour and the influenced discovery of brands through social media channels, according to a study by GroupM Search and ComScore.
The study, entitled 'The influenced: Social media, search and the interplay of consideration and consumption', examined the relationship between a brand's social media exposure and customer search behaviours, and identified the correlation between social media exposure and consumer search patterns.
"Every day consumers express their intent via online searches. With this study, we can better understand how that intent is established via social media and the interplay between the channels," explained Chris Copeland, CEO for GroupM Search in the US.
"There is a valuable audience for advertisers to focus on, who are engaged with brands through social media and search. The study suggests that media discovery - specifically a brand's owned and earned media - is as important to success as paid media, and that generating 'upper-funnel' awareness and influencing consideration through social media can produce better 'down-the-funnel' performance with paid media such as paid search," said Copeland.
The study explored this correlation over a three month period, examining various vertical markets, including automotive, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and telecommunications. In addition to looking at overall internet users, consumers were also divided into three segments: those exposed only to a brand's paid search; those exposed to social media relevant to a brand's category; and those exposed to influenced social media specific to a brand.
It was noted that searchers who engage with social media, especially those exposed to a brand's influenced social media (for example, a brand-operated Facebook fan page), are far more likely to search for lower-funnel terms compared to consumers who do not engage with social media.
And consumers who were exposed to a brand's influenced social media as well as paid search programmes are 2.8 times more likely to search for that brand's products compared to users who saw only the brand's paid search results.
In terms of organic search, consumers searching for brand product terms who have been exposed to a brand's social marketing campaign are 2.4 times more likely to click on organic links leading to the advertiser's site than the average user seeing only the brand's paid search result.
"Social media-exposed consumers are far more likely to search for brand and product-related terms, and to click on a brand's paid search ad," concluded Graham Mudd, vice president for ComScore, "This suggests that investing in social media marketing can both increase initial brand consideration and drive higher conversion rates once the consumer has decided to purchase."