Social vs Search

In addition to social’s importance as a sales channel we also wanted to look at the relationship between social media and search. Was there any evidence to suggest that customers were using social networks for the same purpose as a search engine – specifically to look for goods and services online?

Any shift in customer behaviour here carries significant impact to the allocation of online marketing spend. With more than 60% of marketers planning to increase spend on search, and more than 70% planning to increase social spend6, is this intent justified?

Again, we found a generational divide in our responses. One headline stood out to us: in the 18-24 category, 53% of people would search directly for goods and services via a social media site. Whilst direct traffic and search remain the dominant methods of finding goods and services (see table below), we believe a generational shift is underway: social represents a growing opportunity to directly engage with a target audience. For emerging areas such as ‘visual’ search against an image, we also expect social media to be a natural home compared to a search engine.

Regularity of doing the following when buying goods or services

% among online shoppers