THUNDER BAY – For years, brands and products have acknowledged the importance of being “recommended” by friends and family, but in the new world of social media does this mean that brands should strive to be “liked”?
In early May, Ipsos Loyalty conducted a survey with online Canadians. The results that poll illustrate that the importance of positive commentary on a brand or business extends to Canadians’ social networks.
Half (49%) of online Canadians state that they are either strongly (5%) or somewhat (44%) influenced by brand or product recommendations by members of their social network. The influence of social network recommendations is significantly stronger for online Canadians aged 18-34 (56%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (40%).
Within social networks, being “liked” or “promoted” is also critical, as four in ten (41%) online Canadians are influenced when those in their social network “like” or “promote” a brand or product. Once again the influence of being “liked” is significantly higher for online Canadians aged 18-34 (46%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (34%).
These results show that social networks influence impressions and ultimately the bottom line. For younger Canadians the importance of being ’liked’ is the generational equivalent of being ’recommended’ at the backyard BBQ.
Close to half (48%) of online Canadians with an online social network “follow” or “like” at least one brand, with younger online Canadians being more apt to do so. Six in ten (59%) of younger online Canadians (18-34) follow as least one brand and they follow an average of five brands. At the other end of the age demographic, less than a third (30%) of older online Canadians (those 55 and over) follows a brand and on average they only follow one brand).
Not all online relationships last forever, as 28% of online Canadians have “unliked” or stopped “following” a brand or company. Younger online Canadians are more fickle (41% have “unliked”) than their older online counterparts (15% have “unliked”). The main reason given for “unliking” is that the consumer simply “lost interest” (55%).
Brands and products cannot assume that once a consumer befriends their organization that they will be friends for life. To be successful, organizations must work on their virtual relationships as hard as they work on their face-to-face ones.
Pierzchala is the Vice President / Vice-président at Ipsos Loyalty
Findings are based on the Ipsos Reid syndicated study, the Inter@ctive Reid Report, fielded in Q1, 2011. This online survey of 844 Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos Online Panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.