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Gallup Poll: Social Media Doesn’t Influence Purchases

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Are consumers really influenced by content they see on social media?

Gallup released a recent poll that suggests a majority of users aren’t influenced by social media to make purchases. This may sound like bad news for businesses who have invested time and money in social media marketing efforts, but it’s important to look at the details of this poll before panicking.

Gallup is a customer engagement business. 

Gallup is known for polls because that is how the average person may hear the name. Many news outlets and publications will use Gallup polls. However, only a small percentage of Gallup’s overall business comes from polls. At the end of the study, you can find a statement that says, “Remember, Gallup is prepared to offer tools and services to help business leaders maximize customer engagement.” Because Gallup offers customer engagement services as a primary service, this poll would not be considered objective or unbiased.

Users may not realize they are being influenced. 

The study states, “While social media may have more influence than some Americans realize or will admit, these data show that relatively few consumers consciously take into account what they learn from social media when making purchases.” Social media will not always lead to direct sales, but it is to be used as a tool in an integrated marketing approach in order to influence consumers. Consumers do not consciously recognize the influence of social media on any purchases they make.

People engage with people, not brands. 

The poll shows that 94 percent of people use social media to connect with their family and friends, and 53 percent of them say they use social media to share information. The poll does not identify what people share on social media, nor does it ask if negative reviews or posts on social media had an effect on consumer decisions. “You’ll see that this isn’t really new information,” said Small Business Mavericks Founder Caroline Melberg, “People engage with people, not brands. As we’ve always said, social media needs to be integrated into everything you do in marketing.”

It’s important to keep these details in mind, as well as the fact that social media will work differently for every industry and for businesses of all sizes. For example, the social media approach for Red Bull won’t be the best approach for a small accounting firm.


Published on: July 15, 2014