Internet sources increasingly affect buying decisions


InternetA new study shows that digital destinations such as Facebook and Twitter are not determining factors in consumer buying decisions, but their influence is on the rise.

The study of social media comes from Temkin Group, which looked at the influence of that medium on purchases for a variety of items. It discovered that consumers use social media at different levels for different things, and that it’s rising generally for all categories.

“Social media does not yet warrant a lot of hype when it comes to how consumers make purchases, but it is becoming increasingly important,” states Bruce Temkin, Managing Partner of Temkin Group.

Here, from Temkin, is an assessment of several product categories:

* Autos: More than two-thirds of auto buyers rely on their discussions with employees at auto dealerships. While this source is one of the top two across age groups, it’s particularly important for consumers who are 45 and older.

* Cell phones: Last year as well as this year, interactions with employees are at the top of the list of influencers for cell phone purchases. This is becoming even more important for consumers younger than 35.

* Computers: Across all age groups, consumers rely more on discussions with retail store employees than on information from Facebook or Twitter when buying a computer.

* Credit cards: On average, consumers use information on credit card websites more than they use any other source when picking a credit card.

* Health plans: Across all age groups, the most used source of information for selecting a health plan is either discussions with health plan employees or information on health plan websites.

* Insurance policies: Almost two-thirds of consumers said that discussing options with insurance agents is helpful when selecting an insurance policy. Agents are particularly influential for consumers who are 25 and older.

* Televisions: Fifty-six percent of respondents buying televisions said that reviews and ratings on third party sites are helpful. This is the most useful information source for consumers who are younger than 45.

Further information can be found in Temkin’s eport “What Influences Consumer Purchases?” which can be downloaded from the Customer Experience Matters blog, at as well as from the Temkin Group website,

RBR-TVBR observation: Any added value a broadcaster can give to a client via an effective web presence is all to the good. Seriously: You can’t toss a brick without hitting a media expert who sees a big slice of the advertising pie shifting to digital at a relentless pace.

Broadcasters should not be intimidated by this. The beautiful thing about internet and mobile is that there is nothing stopping any savvy broadcaster from being a full participant. Indeed, a savvy broadcaster has the incredible advantage over digital-only venues of being able to promote its digital presence relentlessly over its broadcast outlet.

You snooze, you lose, broadcasters. You should be working on this now. Do it!