Shares: New and Improved Word of Mouth

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Sharing is caring, but also paying

Online content sharing and recommendations now hold more sway over consumers' buying decisions than brand, or even price, according to a recent study commissioned by social data platform ShareThis. The study was conducted by Beresford Research, who fielded two studies each in the automotive, consumer packaged goods, and mini-tablet industries.

The study, which summarizes survey results on the buying habits of more than 6,000 consumers, found that a positive share increases both intent to purchase and product value by 9.5% overall. Consumer reviews and ratings generate about 7% and 6% additional value respectively. In-person recommendations generate 10.6% additional value, while professional reviews increase value and intent to purchase by about 10%. Conversely, negative online shares decrease purchase intent and value by 11%.

An online share has a value of between $0.33 for a brand or store recommended by a stranger, and $1.33 for brands recommended by friends or family, according to the study. 

In terms of customer segments, moms surveyed are three times more active on social media than the general populace, and Hispanics are five times as likely to digitally share content as other consumers are. Hispanics are also twice as likely as other consumers to purchase products they share content about.

 Mobile accounts for twice as many shares as desktop, the study found. At 58% growth, Pinterest saw the biggest increase as a sharing platform in 2013 over 2012, placing it as the third most social platform, ahead of email. Pinterest accounted for 48% of all sharing on tablets, according to the study. Facebook sharing grew by 57% in 2013 over 2012, LinkedIn by 40%, and Twitter by 15%. Email sharing fell by 11% throughout the year. The study also found that coupons, deals, and recipes made up 84% of all sharing leading up to Thanksgiving 2013.

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