Empathica Consumer Insights Panel:
Consumer Use of Social Media Report

Analysis of U.S. & Canadian Consumer Use of Social Media

Executive Summary

The Wave 2 Empathica Consumer Insights Panel surveyed more than 15,000 U.S. and Canadian consumers, in part focusing on their online habits and social media usage. This survey was part of a comprehensive study on North American consumer spending behaviors and sentiments in various industries, which includes additional surveys in domains such as customer service, the overall economy, and the financial services sector. This detailed examination can be analyzed on its own and also compared to data pulled from Q1 – serving as prolific insight into the movement of consumer spending behaviors this year.

The social media results specifically pulled from this survey indicate a number of trends surrounding online consumer behavior. Most notably, the study found that 60% of consumers follow a brand via social media, mostly because of coupons or promotions. In an era of economic uncertainty, consumers are clearly voicing the importance of finding deals through social media channels.

Social media outlets offer opportunities for companies to encourage brand engagement, taking it past an in-store experience to further validate their commitment to the customer.

As a result of this research, Empathica was able to acquire information that can aid companies in strategic planning for 2011 and years to come. A few notable statistics stemming from the survey are as follows:

  • Six in ten consumers indicated they follow at least one brand via a social network like Facebook/Twitter
  • Forty percent of people reported following a brand via a social network in order to search for coupons or promotions, while 30% cited the desire to browse for additional information
  • Overall online behavior matches that of social media – 26% of individuals say they are specifically seeking more coupons online
  • One in three consumers recently followed through with a recommendation made via social media
  • Of those who use social media, Facebook was the social network of choice for both Canadian (64%) and American (67%) consumers
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