New Survey Data Proves Social Media Ad Engagement Leads to Purchases

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by Alon Leibovich, CEO, and co-founder, BrandTotal

In June 2021, BrandTotal surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults on how they interact with social media ads and how that engagement impacts a consumer’s likelihood to purchase. The study found that with the rise of social commerce, brands can influence target customers at each crucial point of the conversion funnel. Now more than ever, brand marketers must pay attention to consumer engagement, sentiment, and interaction with brand ads and a brand's competitors' ads.

Key Highlights

  • Two thirds of consumers show purchasing intent signals early on in the social commerce funnel with a pre "click" consumer behavior – 65% of consumers reported they engage (like, share, comment) with brand ad campaigns and from those who engage with the ads, a staggering 90% are more likely to make a purchase. 
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    • Engagement can also be a result of a consumer’s social network. Nearly 60% of survey respondents said they became aware of a product or service advertisement or sponsored post because a friend tagged them within the comments section.
  • Social media ads have been effective in general, with more than 80% of respondents saying they have purchased a product or service as a result of a social advertisement and of those, 84% said they had purchased an item as a result of an advertisement within the last three months.
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    • Social media ads are also effective in getting consumers to purchase an item they “had been meaning” to purchase, with more than 60% answering they will click to purchase immediately. 
  • When it comes to product discovery, 79% of respondents said they had discovered a brand they were not previously aware of via a sponsored post that resulted in a purchase and 84% of those who discovered a new product purchased it in the last three months. Nearly 80% of surveyed respondents said they find most of the brands that advertise to them on social media relevant to their interests and more than 70% said they had a favorable opinion of brands that advertise to them.
    • For brands consumers were familiar with, 73% said a social media ad would increase the likelihood of a purchase with over two-thirds saying they buy products or services from brands they follow on social media.
  • While influencers are effective, they are less effective than traditional social media advertisements with just over half of survey respondents (54%) saying they are more likely to make a purchase because of an influencer featured in an ad or sponsored post. 
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  • What a brand stands for and how they share their values with their followers matters. More than 70% of survey respondents said there was an impact on their purchasing decision if a brand spoke about causes that they are passionate about including politics, cultural phenomenons, and social causes. Just 23% of survey respondents said that there was no impact on their purchasing decision if a brand spoke about causes they are passionate about including politics, cultural phenomenons, and social causes. 42% of the same group said it makes them more likely to purchase when they see brands speak up. 

These survey results showcase that brands can affect every point in the conversion funnel for potential customers and shouldn’t measure just clicks as an indicator of social advertising effectiveness. Marketers must measure the top and the middle of the funnel, just like we measure the bottom of the funnel and pay attention to consumer engagement, sentiment, and interaction with our ads and our competitors' ads. 

With the rise of social commerce and fierce direct-to-consumer challenger brand competition, there is a clear need to measure and predict social advertising effectiveness and pay attention to the earliest signs of consumer purchase intent at the pre-click level. With a staggering 90% of respondents indicating they engage, comment on, or share an ad as the first step before making a purchase, brands must take their blinders off and measure not only consumer response and interaction with their social media ads, but with their rival brands’ social ads. Paying attention to and responding to the most important early signs of purchase intent at the consumer engagement and interaction stage absolutely helps in converting to a purchase. 

Understanding your category competitors matters, because it leads to better media campaign flighting, and allows the media execution team working on behalf of a brand to strategize targeting to improve conversions and ROI. Insights into what the competition is doing via a marketing technology dashboard is essential for today’s CMOs and brand managers. And BrandTotal can help.

If you’d like to uncover actionable insights into your competitors’ paid social media strategies and advertising secrets to optimize brand impact, please request a demo today.

About the Author:

Alon Leibovich is the CEO and co-founder of BrandTotal. Leibovich is a pioneer in the brandtech space, empowering Fortune 500 companies to break through in the social landscape by leveraging competitive analytics. A marketing and advertising veteran, Alon spent years at leading agencies including McCann. He successfully raised $20M in total funding for BrandTotal and launched the company internationally.

Alon is a member of Forbes Business Council, and holds a BA in Business Administration and Psychology from Ben-Gurion University, and a MS.c from the Technion in Behavioral and Business Administration sciences.

If you’d like to connect with Alon, you can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.