Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products, according to research from Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite.
Consumers are very much part of the decision funnel for other consumers, says Radha Subramanyam, SVP of media and advertising analytics, NM Incite.
“What is really surprising is not how many people are reading consumer-generated reviews today, but the vast swaths of people who are actively creating such content,” Subramanyam tells Marketing Daily. “And the number one motivation for consumers is not criticism, but praise -- consumers want to commend brands and companies for a job well done.”
Females are more likely to tell others about products they like, with 81% of females vs. 72% of males relating their experience to others.
Fifty-eight percent of social media users (both male and female) say they write product reviews to protect others from bad experiences, with nearly 1 in 4 saying they share their negative experiences to “punish companies.”
Sixty percent of consumers researching products through multiple online sources learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites. Active social media users are more likely to read product reviews online, and three out of five create their own reviews of products and services.
Consumer-generated reviews and product ratings are the most preferred sources of product information among social media users (vs. professional reviews such as those created by journalists) with recommendations of friends and family counting the most.
Results from Nielsen’s Global Online Survey indicate that 2 out of 3 said they were either highly or somewhat influenced by an ad with social context.
Review writers want to be rewarded for their efforts. Among those who share their brand experiences through social media, at least 41% say they do so to receive discounts.
Many customers also use social media to engage with brands on a customer service level, with 42% of 18- to-34-year-olds acknowledging that in today’s world they expect customer support within 12 hours of a complaint.
Consumers are more than willing to act as ambassadors and advocates for brands through social media. A majority of active social networkers (53%) follow brands. These brands are increasingly recruiting their fans and followers to spread word-of-mouth recommendations about their products and services, and among consumers who write product reviews online, a majority say they share their experiences to “give recognition for a job well done” by the company.
Social media users are also interested in collaborating with their favorite brands, with 60% of users ages 18-34 saying they want to give product improvement recommendations, and another 64% who want to customize their products.