New research from Sprout Social, the social media analytics firm which has its EMEA HQ in Dublin, has found that Irish consumers are increasingly buying products directly from social media.
According to the latest Sprout Social Index, 78% of Irish consumers have bought directly from a brand’s social media channels over the last 12 months, an almost three-fold increase from 2019.
Despite the growing use of social media as a medium for purchasing from the consumer perspective, driving sales only ranks as the seventh most important goal, at 17%, for Irish and UK businesses using social.
The top three business goals for when using social are: increasing brand awareness (65%); increasing community engagement (45%) and increasing web traffic (39%).
The Index reveals that Irish and UK marketers and consumers are also misaligned when it comes to what they want to achieve on social media. Customer service on social is ranked as the top activity brands can use to keep consumers buying from them, but less than a third of businesses (30%) said social media activity was to contribute to their goal of providing customer service and support.
Businesses could derive more success from social media marketing, simply by focussing on what their customers want – namely the delivery of first-class customer service and social commerce – over trends, pop culture and memes.
The opportunities for businesses to increase sales on social are apparent across multiple demographics. Those in the Gen Z category, aged between 18-23, are the most active group when it comes to purchasing directly from social, with 79% buying from social media.
Baby Boomers, aged between 56-74, are the least active at purchasing on social, yet still close to half, 43%, have purchased from social media.
According to Gerard Murnaghan, VP and general manager, International, at Sprout Social: “The general increase in social media use by Irish consumers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic is not surprising, however the rapid move to social commerce should make brands sit up and take note of how quickly consumers will change their purchasing habits. Customers aren’t just going online with the intent to make a specific website purchase, or to inform themselves prior to a physical store visit. They are also browsing social media and when they see something that excites them, they will look to buy it.”
Cat Anderson, International Marketing Lead at Sprout Social, adds: “Social commerce represents a significant opportunity for brands to tap into a wide demographic of consumers who are actively purchasing through multiple social channels. Understanding the data is key for brands to leverage this opportunity. From identifying where your target customers spend their time to grasping what exactly it is they want to hear from you, those brands who embrace the available data will set themselves apart from the competition.