NEW YORK: Facebook is by far the most effective social media platform for driving offline sales for small businesses, according to a new report.
Digital marketing company G/O Digital surveyed 1,000 US users aged 18 to 29 for a study on Facebook advertising and found that 84% of respondents said local deals or offers on that site were a major influence on their purchasing decisions. Further, 25% said "it's very important and I would be likely to make an in-store purchase within a week".
Facebook offers that could be redeemed at a local store were by far the most persuasive marketing tactic. Some 40% cited this as being most likely to influence them to make an in-store purchase at a local or small business.
Promoted Posts were effective for 12% and photos/videos for 11%, while loyalty app promotions gained a 10% response.
Facebook was also way out in front when respondents were asked which social media channel they found most useful for researching products or services before visiting a local business. Fully 62% opted for Facebook, with Pinterest (12%), Twitter (11%) and Instagram (9%) trailing in its wake.
"The most bang-for-your-buck way for many small businesses to drive in-store activity and sales through social marketing in the short term is going to be Facebook," Jeff Fagel, G/O Digital CMO, told ClickZ.
"Pinterest and Twitter should definitely have a place in their larger social marketing strategy, but will serve different purposes and support different objectives," he added.
Amid the ongoing debate about privacy, and recent revelations surrounding Facebook's manipulation of news feeds, G/O Digital's research suggested that local relevance and personalisation might be more important for users.
It found that just over one third (36%) of respondents felt that "ads that are targeted based on your personal interests and past purchases" were most likely to influence them to interact with Facebook ads from small businesses. More than one quarter considered "ads that are targeted based on current location" to be most influential.
"It's all about relevancy," Fagel declared. "For example, if you offer me $2 off a hot dog at a baseball game, I won't mind having my mobile viewing experience interrupted by this ad, because it's solving an immediate, relevant need that I have: feeding my hunger and giving me a discount at the same time."
Data sourced from ClickZ; additional content by Warc staff