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Do Consumers Find Deals on Social Sites?

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Do Consumers Find Deals on Social Sites?

Many web users like heading to Facebook for discounts, but some research suggests emails may be preferred—and more effective

Discounts and deals have been used by many brands as a tactic to encourage Facebook or Twitter engagement among shoppers, and research has shown that receiving such offers is a top reason social network users follow brands on the sites. But have consumers made a strong connection between social networks and retail?

March 2011 research from daily deal site Eversave found that fully three-quarters of female social network users thought social sites were useful for learning about offers from brands. Respondents usually heard about daily deals in their newsfeed, from brands they follow (85.7%). Friends were another big source of deal information (44.5%).

But December 2010 data from research firm ForeSee Results put social media sites toward the bottom of online shoppers’ preferred promotional channels. Just 8% wanted to hear about discounts via sites like Facebook and Twitter, compared to 64% who thought email was the best way.

When ForeSee Results asked US online shoppers about their preferred social media sites for retail communications, nearly half (47%) refused to choose one at all. Among the rest, Facebook was the clear winner (40%).

The survey also confirmed earlier research showing email still drives more shopping and purchasing than social media.

While deals are important to those social networking site users who follow brands, several factors add up to put email in an even stronger position: more consumers subscribe to retail emails than follow retailers on social sites, the desire for discounts may be even stronger among email subscribers, and many users still limit social sites to their primary purpose of communication and entertainment.

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