While social media and social media marketing may be the flavor of the month (or is that year), search engines are still holding their own when it comes to the important issues. For small businesses, there is nothing as important as steady sales. According to a recent report, 57% of consumers still use search engines as their primary tool when looking for products.
Okay – so does that leave 43% for social media? Apparently not. It seems that 20% of consumers prefer to head straight to a brand site and another 18% search for products through retailers. When it comes to social media, they only receive 3% of consumers traffic.
It is understandable really. If you know what you want to buy, why go to a social site? It makes more sense to search for the product via a search engine, or to go directly to a known website. Social is more interactive. Consumers are more likely to seek opinions on products or services through social media than look for sellers.
What is missing from a set of statistics like this is what has preceded the product search, or indeed the visit to a retailer or known brand. For example, have they spent some time reading reviews, talking to friends and acquaintances to find information. From the statistics mentioned, 20% of consumers go directly to branded web sites. Has social media had any influence?
Search engines are still are primary source of traffic when it comes to product searches. However, social media is now one of the primary channels for building brand awareness, and for interacting with potential customers. These days, both are important to the future viability of any online business.
WebProNews has an interesting post on these statistics here.