In its simplest form, social media is anywhere on the internet where users can create and share content. Twitter and Facebook are among the best-known social media sites, although thousands of similar sites exist covering a wide variety of online activity:
The sheer scale and reach of social media demonstrates its significance. Worldwide, 1 billion people have Facebook profiles and 140 million are on Twitter. In global terms, if Facebook users constituted a country, it would be the world’s third largest behind China and India.
And the evidence indicates that the influence of social media is increasing: last year, 68% of Americans1 using social networks said that none of those networks had influenced their buying decisions. This year, just 36% said that there was no influence and 47% said Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior (compared to just 24% in 2011).
This influence will only grow as the global population becomes more mobile and consumers increasingly share information, research, and give feedback before, during, and after the purchase process. Tracking this process, understanding the triggers, and influencing customers at the most important point in the purchase process is priceless for brands.
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