Study: Customers Still Prefer Company Websites To Facebook Pages

By Justin Lafferty 

In 2011, U.S. marketers spent more than $3 million on Facebook brand pages. What are they getting for that money? Research from social marketing firm Get Satisfaction and analyst Incyte Group shows that despite the heavy investment on Facebook, consumers still visit a companies’ websites more often, and would rather be introduced to a company through friends, not ads.

Other findings from the study, released Thursday:

  • When people log onto social networks such as Facebook, 70.2 percent of them do so for social networking, but only 12.8 percent said they visit social media to interact with brands.
  • When customers wanted information to make a purchasing decision, 89.3 percent went straight to the company’s website; 21.2 percent used a social network.
  • Customers who wanted to learn more about a product were more likely to visit the company’s website (81.1 percent) than the Facebook brand page (19.9 percent).
  • Get Satisfaction and Incyte Group concluded that users on Facebook don’t want brand relationships to be a part of their social media experience, but rather to have the companies’ websites behave more like social networks. This way, users can get information, as well as reviews and comments.
  • Customers would like to be introduced to companies through friends’ Facebook posts (64.5 percent). Only 38.2 percent of customers said they want their first impression of a company to be through a Facebook ad.
  • The main reason why people interact with branded communities such as Facebook pages is to get information quickly (32.1 percent) and to get answers from fellow consumers (21.3 percent).
  • As far as figuring out what people do on branded social communities, 32.5 percent said they read content, 19.5 percent said they shared content, 18.1 percent learned from others.
  • Facebook is the primary way people share content, comments, and other information with their friends and networks. 35.1 percent used their Facebook news feed to share content and 21.3 percent shared via likes. Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging were not used as often.

Get Satisfaction CEO Wendy Lea summed up the findings in a press release:

It’s clear that companies aren’t getting the results they need from investing in social media. Consumers don’t just want to be broadcasted to. They want to engage with each other and companies about products and services they care about. This study validates that social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement driven by a branded customer community, and not be viewed and used as yet another digital advertising channel. Getting results from social media is about relevant interactions throughout the customer life cycle.

Readers: What do you look for and what do you do when you visit a company’s Facebook page?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.