The top reason for following or liking a brand, company or celebrity on social networking sites is to receive discounts and special offers, confirms a survey of global online consumers conducted by Nielsen.
In the U.S., Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite found that nearly 60% of social media users visit these networks to receive coupons or promotions, with 23% saying they do so on a weekly basis.
Other Nielsen research shows that U.S. adults who follow a brand or celebrity on social networking sites are 52% more likely than the average adult online to download an online coupon, and 9% more likely to shop online.
The new study also confirmed that social networking plays a key role in driving consumers to seek out discounts/special offers. It found significant overlap between visitors to social networks and blogs and those who visit sites that offer coupons and rewards. During September, 43% of visitors to social networks/blogs also visited a coupons/rewards site.
Also, 44% of Facebook’s audience and nearly two-thirds (63%) of Twitter’s audience visited these sites. After email and search, Facebook was a key, direct traffic source for Groupon and Living Social during September.
North American consumers showed the strongest interest in using social media for deals (45%), followed by those in Asia-Pacific (34%) and Latin America (33%).
Globally, online consumers in most age brackets also cited receiving discounts and special offers as their top reason for liking or following brands. Only respondents under the age of 20 and those 55 to 59 were less likely to follow for this reason, reporting that they engage with brands via social media based primarily on friends’ recommendations.
While some may argue that consumers’ interest in discounts has faded, Nielsen data shows the desire for deals is still strong worldwide.
Despite reports that interest in daily-deal sites is fading, nearly 40% of active Internet users across a sample of 10 major markets reported visiting coupons/rewards sites such as Groupon, Coupons.com and Living Social from home and work computers during September 2011. Compared to September 2010, visits to these sites were up in all of these countries except the U.K. In seven of the 10 countries, Groupon was the most-visited site in the category. (The 10 markets where Nielsen has meter-measured Net data are the U.S., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.)
Nielsen’s conclusion: Particularly with holiday shopping underway and consumers’ continuing economic struggles, brands and advertisers should consider leveraging social media to offer consumers incentives.