G/O Digital Study Reveals Facebook’s Power in Driving Offline Sales for Small Businesses

58 Percent of Consumers Engage With Facebook Ads At Least Once Per Week Before Buying In-Store from Small Businesses

CHICAGOG/O Digital, the leader in local, integrated digital marketing solutions, today released the results of its new study – Facebook Advertising: The Social Commerce Lifeline for Small Businesses. The study, which surveyed 1,000 online and mobile users, proves that Facebook advertising holds significant influence over consumers’ views and engagement with small businesses, including their decision to purchase items in-store.

As Facebook reported in May 2014, 30 million small businesses now have active Facebook pages, updated at least once per month – an increase of 5 million from the fourth quarter of last year. With Facebook commanding 17 percent of consumers’ time, there is no denying that the social media giant plays an integral role in the success of small businesses and that success rests heavily on their ability to use online, mobile and social advertising to drive offline sales. In fact, 58 percent of respondents reported that they engage with Facebook ads at least once per week before buying an item in-store from a small business.

“With such a surplus of posts, images, videos and alerts flowing down the timelines of Facebook users, today’s shoppers want and expect more from the social experience,” said Jeff Fagel, CMO of G/O Digital. “To succeed, small businesses must first understand consumers’ online-to-offline shopping behaviors and invest at least a portion of their digital marketing dollars into the right technology, tools and partners to create precisely targeted, relevant and personalized experiences. The true value of Facebook therefore, doesn’t lie in simply driving ‘likes’ and adding new fans – it lies in using personalized content to convert digital ‘hunters’ into loyal, repeat in-store buyers.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Facebook beats Pinterest and Twitter as the most effective social media research channel. 62 percent of respondents believe Facebook is most useful for researching small businesses before visiting in-person, compared to Twitter (11 percent) and Pinterest (12 percent).
  • Local Facebook deals/offers have the power to fill the cash register immediately and consistently. A whopping 84 percent of respondents believe local deals/offers on Facebook are important in their decision to purchase an item in-store.
  • Local relevance trumps privacy in weighing the legitimacy of Facebook advertising. 27 percent of respondents cite “ads that are targeted based on current location” and 36 percent cite “ads that are targeted based on your personal interests and past purchases” as influencing them to interact with Facebook ads from a small business.
  • Promoted Posts are no match for Facebook Offers in driving digital and mobile engagement. 38 percent of respondents believe Facebook offers that can be redeemed in local stores are most likely to influence them to visit the website of a small business and 35 percent believe the same types of Facebook offers will persuade them to visit mobile sites or apps.
  • Online and social reputation can make or break the success of small businesses. Over three-fourths (80 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase products or services in-store from a small business if there are positive customer reviews/ratings on the company’s website, mobile site or Facebook page.

The study was fielded from June 30, 2014 through July 2, 2014 and garnered a total of 1,000 responses from U.S. adults aged 18 to 29-years-old, who are interested in buying products and services from local/small businesses and own at least one desktop/laptop computer and a smartphone or tablet. The complete study and findings can be downloaded from the G/O Digital website.

About G/O Digital

The G/O Digital vision: To Transform Local Marketing and #WinLocal.

For Local Businesses, G/O Digital, a Gannett company, is a one-stop shop for local businesses looking to connect with consumers through digital marketing, from search to social and everything in between.  For National Brands and Agencies, G/O Digital delivers local digital activation at national scale with push-button simplicity powered by G/O Digital brands: Shoplocal, BLiNQ Media & Key Ring.

G/O Digital partners with more than 5,000 of the nation’s top brands and retailers, including P&G, Target, Walmart and Walgreens and leads digital marketing programs with thousands of local businesses across more than 110 local markets. For more information, visit www.godigitalmarketing.com and @godigitalmktg.