Users Register Social Network Comments While Shopping

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One-quarter of customers share their experience in online conversations from smartphones while in the physical store, according to a recent study from ListenLogic. It analyzed thousands of mentions of retailers and restaurants for 10 national brands.

The study "Mobile Social Shoppers" analyzes more than 16,000 discussions from consumers about their shopping experiences. In turns out that one in four comments post while shoppers are in the physical store during 1Q, up from one in six from the prior quarter. The findings could add another tick in the purchase funnel and attribution management strategies.

Findings from the ListenLogic study suggest that most conversations occur during browsing and shopping, but they also happen as consumers make the decision to purchase the items. The study notes that while 2,035 conversations occurred while browsing and shopping, 654 occurred at the time consumers decided to make the purchase.

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Surprisingly, males make up 52.1% of the conversations, compared with 47.9% of females. Ages 18 to 24 post the most -- at 38% -- followed by ages 25 to 34 at 34%, under 18 and between 35 and 50 at 11%, and over 50 years old at 6%.

Rapid smartphone adoption in the U.S. continues to drive real-time, in-store experience discussions. ListenLogic estimates more than 200 million smartphones were sold in the last six months.

Lou Kerner, Wedbush Securities analyst, points to the more than 250 million mobile Facebook users. He expects membership to grow online, particularly in the less saturated demographics of age 55 and older, as well as in countries with lower penetration. Last week, Facebook rolled out a major upgrade to its mobile Web experience. But it's not only Facebook members that will grow in importance. In his most recent research note, Kerner points to data from Pingdom that shows social networks from Facebook to LinkedIn to Orkut to Twitter, attracting more than 1 million daily visitors.

Google would like to provoke the same action from consumers while in physical stores from its +1 button, but search marketers have doubts. Google's challenge to Facebook's "Like" button or Twitter's retweet has the potential to drive growth for advertisers, but the impact level directly linked to user adoption doesn't look promising.

During a Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization meeting last week for the Los Angeles chapter, marketing professionals expressed their concern about Google's lack of content across its social graph to support the +1 platform. Google might own search on the Web, but "how often am I connected to my friends on Google and why would it ever matter?" said David Martin, senior vice president of media services at Ignited USA. "It will be so rare and invaluable that eventually Web sites will want to pull off the plus-one button from their site."

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