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This article was published on February 23, 2012

British under-35s are more influenced by brands than friends on social networks, says study

British under-35s are more influenced by brands than friends on social networks, says study

Brand messages on social media have more influence on young consumers than online friends’ recommendations, a new study shows.

Carried out among 1,100 British social media users aged 15-34 for the UK consultancy firm Decode, the study shows that among those who have made a purchase based on social media, 30% made the decision as a result of brand communications, versus only 24% decided based on friends’ recommendations.

Of course, it could also have to do with the fact that we’re not always close to our online friends, and chances are that results would be different if the study wasn’t limited to buying decisions driven by social media and included our real-life friends. Besides, we usually handpick the brands we follow, which creates a positive bias.

Yet, these findings send an encouraging message to brands that are trying to find the best ways to engage with young consumers. Decode’s CEO Robert Barnard says:

‘Commercial use of social media is an ever evolving medium and the jury is still out in some sectors so far as the best way to capitalise on Generation Y’s willingness to engage online in this way so that it builds brand value and shows a measurable return.

It’s reassuring that brands using social media to push brand messages are winning over people more than word of mouth does, but to really gain the best return on investment a deeper understanding of this emerging generation of consumers and influencers and a more holistic approach to using the insight is needed.’

Who do you listen to before making purchase decisions? Let us know in the comments.

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