Larry Magid: Does Social Media Influence Consumer’s Purchases?

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— According to a Gallup study, 62 percent of Americans don’t feel influenced at all by social media when it comes to their shopping and purchasing habits.

The poll, taken from December 2012 through January 2013, was called flawed by those who monitor the advertising industry. I tend to agree about some of those potential flaws because of the timing of the study. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites were still in their infancy as far as their ad targeting is concerned, especially on mobile platforms.

It also depends on how you ask the question to the person being polled. You aren’t likely to get an honest response when you say, ‘Are you influenced by advertising?’ Whether it is subliminal or however else, I’d say you are.

Does Social Media Influence Consumer’s Purchases?

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There are studies on image impacting and even beer ads. You may see one on TV and then go to the fridge and grab one (even if it’s not the same kind as whatever you saw in the ad). There’s plenty of evidence out there that suggests that advertising works.

I think you really need to look at behavior as opposed to what people say in these kinds of polls and studies. People tend to want to say that they make objective decisions.

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