[ press Release ]

Social Media Now Influences Brand Perceptions,
Purchase Decisions of 38 Million in U.S.

Second wave of breakthrough study shows increasing role of mobile

New York, NY; June 14, 2011: As marketers struggle to define the value of social media to their brands, new Knowledge Networks findings demonstrate that consumers are much more likely to discover new products and brands or refer to social media before making purchase decisions than they were just a year ago. In fact, the purchase decisions of 38 million 13 to 80 year olds in the U.S. are now influenced in various ways by social media — up 14% in just six months.

The results come from Wave 2 of The Faces of Social MediaSM syndicated research, which provides a consumer-centric view of social media involvement and its effects on 39 product categories. The syndicated study, focused on the marketing consequences of social media ("SoMe"), is a Joint Research Venture of Knowledge Networks (KN) and MediaPost Communications' Center for Media Research.

Teens and adults who are social media users in 2011 reported high levels of influence as follows:

  • 23.1 million discover new brands or products through social media (up 22% from 2010)
  • 22.5 million use SoMe to learn about unfamiliar brands or products (up 9%)
  • 17.8 million are strongly influenced in their purchase decisions by opinions in social media (up 19%)
  • 15.1 million refer to social media before making purchase decisions (up 29%)

Consumers are also integrating social media usage with their mobile phone activity. In 2011, 40% of teens and adults who have ever used social media are accessing it through their mobile device – up from 28% versus 6 months ago. This means that roughly 80 million people check social media from a mobile device.

As a result, social media is now a 'wherever I am' option, integrated into the mobile-plus social media users' shopping experience and habits; 27% compare or check prices via SoMe, 24% refer to reviews for brands/places/services, and 16% (23% of Boomers) use social media to find coupons or other discounts for local businesses.

"Tying consumer interactions back to brands and purchase decisions is essential for marketers, in social media no less than any other platform," said Patricia Graham, Chief Strategy Officer of Knowledge Networks. "While we have seen a dramatic rise in key metrics that quantify SoMe's influence, we also have observed a wide variation of influence at the category level. The Faces of Social Media gives brands the ability to not only understand, but also act on that influence."

"The on-the-go consumer is becoming more mobile in their social media usage," said Chuck Martin, Director of the Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications. "This move to mobility combined with the increasing influence of social media during the purchase process has great implications for marketers, who will have to look at location as well as which product purchases are most affected."

MediaPost Communications is an integrated publishing and content company whose mission is to provide a complete array of resources for media, marketing and advertising professionals. Since 1996, has been the largest and most influential site on the Internet for media executives, providing news, blogs and directories to help its community of more than 100,000 members better plan and buy both traditional and online advertising. MediaPost's Center for Media Research provides a dependable source of research material.

Knowledge Networks is passionate about research in consumer goods, retail, media, health and social policy – collaborating closely with client teams throughout the research process, while applying rigor in everything we do. The company specializes in innovative online research that consistently gives leaders in business, government, and academia the confidence to make important decisions. KN delivers affordable, statistically valid online research through KnowledgePanel® and leverages a variety of other assets, such as world class advanced analytics, an industry-leading physician panel, an innovative platform for measuring online ad effectiveness, and a research-ready behavioral database of frequent supermarket and drug store shoppers.

For more information, contact:

Patricia Graham
Knowledge Networks
312 416-3660

Chuck Martin
MediaPost Communications
603 750-3020


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