Proportion of businesses that have a social media presence
More businesses now have a social media presence than has previously been recorded. Forty eight percent of small businesses, 54% of medium businesses and 79% of large businesses are now on social media. Facebook continues to be the most popular platform by far, with LinkedIn and Twitter relatively prominent, particularly in medium and large businesses where Instagram and YouTube are also common. Other platforms do not have widespread appeal, although almost one in five large businesses use Google+. Four percent of small businesses, 2% of medium sized businesses and 2% of large businesses claimed to have removed a social media presence this year. The main reasons were that it required too much time or that there was no return on their investment. Seventeen percent of small businesses not currently using social media anticipate adding a presence in the next year. This is also true for 13% of medium sized businesses and 29% of large businesses. Those with no intention primarily said they don’t see a benefit to their business from using social media.
Path to purchase
Among the 14% who use social media platforms to research something they want to buy, holiday, travel and accommodation stood out (21%). There were also double figure mentions for clothing and fashion (12%) and appliances or electrical equipment (11%). However, as indicated in the previous section, clothing and fashion are being researched far less through social media than in the past two years. Now such research via a mobile device has
clearly overtaken the computer. Purchases increased to 59% (from 49% last year) but they had been higher in 2014 at 63%. There has been a gradual increase since 2013 in the proportion who made their purchase online, from 50% to 71%.
Advertising on social networking sites
Attitudes towards advertising on social media remain polarised in a number of respects. There are still over a third of people who are happy to see ads (34%, was 38% in 2015) and over four in ten click on them occasionally to find out more (43%, was 42%). It is still the case that a slight majority (53%) take no notice of such ads, but this has come down from 69% in 2014 and 55% last year. Likewise, most ignore sponsored posts from businesses they don’t follow, but this incidence has fallen from 72% to 67%. A new statement included this survey reveals that over four in ten will inspect a brand’s social media presence before making an online purchase if they had not previously purchased from that brand’s website. Most importantly 43% click on ads on social sites to get more information.