Social media presence can affect online purchase decisions

Posted on March 8, 2012


A recent study carried out by the University of Miami School of Business indicates that the presence of a social media badge on a website can affect purchases made online. The study indicates that online shoppers are affected subconsciously, and a Facebook or Twitter symbol adjacent to a product can hugely affect the decision to purchase.

The online shopping movements were tracked of almost 200 people, to determine how the “Like” badge for Facebook or the “Tweet” badge for Twitter would affect the actual purchase of goods. The results indicate that the presence of the buttons can have an effect on an online shopper either to buy a product or not to purchase a product, although the type of product does appear to matter. If the product is something that could cause embarrassment, the presence of a social media badge is likely to dissuade a person from making a purchase. However, if a product is highly desirable, the presence of a social media badge can increase the likelihood of purchase by 25 percent.

The participants of the study had no recollection of whether a social media badge was present or not, which indicates the powerful influence of social media on online shoppers. Although advertisers are eager to use personal data to target adverts to users, this study reveals that peer pressure is just as powerful.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter play an integral role in search engine optimisation, influencing the online purchases of consumers, whether they live in Liverpool or London.

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