New Data Uncovers the Impact of Social Media on Consumers

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National survey from Adlucent reveals the real influence of social media on consumer purchasing decisions

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Today, Adlucent, a leading digital advertising and analytics agency, released findings from a national survey that examined the impact social media plays in the consumer shopping experience. The study looked at seven major social media sites - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Periscope - and found that while social networks are still largely being used for socializing and product discovery, they are playing a bigger role in driving brand awareness and increasing influence on consumer purchasing decisions.

“The way consumers engage with brands is changing and social media is one of the main drivers behind it, but many brands are still struggling with their approach to social,” said Michael Griffin, founder and CEO of Adlucent. “We found that on social networks, consumers want to have meaningful interactions with brands through targeted messages and offers that appeal to them directly. As the desire for personalization continues to grow, brands need to focus on the relevancy of their messages.”

Key highlights from the survey include:

  • Social media is making an impact on purchasing decisions: Consumers today still largely start their search process on search engines or Amazon, but social media is having a growing influence. 39% of respondents said social media posts/ads at least somewhat influence their purchase decisions and 45% said product recommendations from influencers/celebrities they follow on social media at least somewhat influences their purchase decisions.
  • Consumers aren’t actively following brands on social: Although consumers are turning to social for inspiration and new ideas, they aren’t actively engaging with brands. On average – across six major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope) – 75% of respondents follow zero brands. For brands that are focusing on social engagement, but are not investing in social ads this is a huge missed opportunity.
  • Consumers want personalized ads on social: The growing influence social is seeing in the market is in part because the channel is enabling brands to connect with the right audiences with relevant and personalized ads. Across seven major social media sites, an average 46% of respondents said they would prefer tailored social media ads, with 68% wanting tailored Facebook ads, 63% wanting tailored ads on YouTube and 67% wanting tailored Twitter ads. Consumers find personalized ads less disruptive and feel they have more control, leading them to engage in a more frequent and genuine manner.
  • Facebook dominates social influence: The world’s largest social network is winning the data war with their more than 1 billion users. 76% of respondents noted that they have learned about a new brand or product on Facebook, more than any other social media site, and respondents cited Facebook ads to be more relevant. In addition, nearly 10% of consumers have purchased products as a result of seeing Facebook ads.
  • Consumers are looking to purchase products through social networks: Social is driving product discovery and seeing a growing influence on consumer shopping habits. While today’s consumers still purchase primarily through marketplace sites like Amazon (56%) or physical retail stores (34%), 43% said they would be at least somewhat willing to purchase a product directly through Facebook if given the option, followed by Twitter (27%) then Pinterest and Instagram (26%). If brands can find a way to take advantage of this appetite in an organic and personal manner, it will open up a new revenue stream that has yet to reach its potential.

To learn more about the study and the role social media is playing in the consumer experience, visit

About Adlucent:
Adlucent is a digital advertising and intelligence company that helps retailers identify, acquire and engage with their highest value customers. Based in Austin, Adlucent’s platform helps retailers create, launch and manage high-volume and product-based campaigns through the use of extensive data analytics. Founded in 2001, Adlucent is a successful bootstrapped company that continues to execute on its commitment to create personalized advertising programs. For more information on Adlucent, visit

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Molly Wilson