Travel is an experience people like to discuss with their friends as they share the details of where they’re going and how they’ll get there. Hertz knew customers’ social activity and conversations were impacting purchase decisions but the company didn’t know how much until now. A new study for the car rental company shows consumers who engaged in social conversations around Hertz were 30 percent more likely to make a purchase than those who didn’t engage in social conversations.
The research, conducted by social media platform ShareThis and Omnicom’s OMD media unit, looked across 11.5 million users and 3.2 million travel category URLs. It examined Hertz customers’ pre-purchase behaviors such as content viewing, searching and site visitation and determined the impact of social behaviors such as sharing and clicking on shared links in the process of purchase consideration. The ‘Path to Purchase’ study found that consumers who engaged in social activity around Hertz and related topics in the early stages of that process were four times as likely to search for car rental terms and twice as likely to visit Hertz’s website.
“Hertz will approach marketing strategies in the future by viewing all media through a 360 lens in relation to social media  and specifically sharing,” Jerry Preyss, Hertz vp, global brand marketing and innovation told Adweek. “This includes incorporating practices like Twitter hashtags, social links and shareable functionality whenever possible. Continuing to implement these and monitor social activity, we’ll be able to further identify peak opportunities within social media to capture our audience and customers.”
Colin Sutton, social media director at OMD, noted that while search is usually credited as the first step in consumers’ consideration process, the study underscored the significant role sharing and social also play, particularly in the beginning of purchase consideration. Still he, adds “Search hasn’t been incredibly diminished by this, it’s actually been enhanced by sharing at the beginning of the purchase funnel. Search still plays a role in finding and deciding on an option.”