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Social drives sales.

That's the core finding of a story that appears today in the July/August issue of the Harvard Business Review. How Pinterest Puts People in Stores shares the results of Vision Critical research into that network's impact on the path to purchase. View the story in print or online to learn how Pinterest supports a phenomenon we call "reverse showrooming".

Putting hard numbers behind the claim that social drives sales has provided the foundation for a much larger study that we also release today. From Social to Sale: 8 questions to ask your customers takes a comprehensive look at the purchasing influence of three major social networks: Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Drawing on a data set that spans 17 months and includes nearly 6,000 interviews focused social media-inspired purchasing, it's an unprecedented picture of how social media sharing translates into specific purchases.

That picture centres on the dramatic portion of social media users who report making purchases of items they have previously shared or favorited. This infographic demonstrates just how much online and in-store purchasing is inspired by each of these three social networks:

how social media drives purchasing

Other key findings about the volume of social media-inspired purchasing include:

  • Social drives roughly equal amounts of online and in-store sales
  • Nearly 4 in 10 Facebook users report that they have at some point gone from liking, sharing or commenting on an item to actually buying it
  • 43% of social media users have purchased a product after sharing or favoriting it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter

Uncovering data like this raises urgent questions about which social networks drive which kinds of purchasing, and what actually influences a customer to go from seeing to sharing to shopping. These are the questions we address in the white paper, presenting what we know about social media purchasing trends writ large, and what those trends imply for individual businesses and brands.

Over the next week, we'll share highlights From Social to Sale through infographics that speak to each of the 8 questions in the report:

  1. Which social networks do customers use, and how much?
  2. What do customers want from each social network?
  3. How many social media users have bought a product after sharing it?
  4. What are the specific purchases triggered by social media?
  5. Does purchasing lead to social media sharing?
  6. How does social media nudge customers from interest to purchase?
  7. How does mobile shopping move customers from social media sharing to online purchase?
  8. How long does it take to go from social media sharing to purchasing?

(These infographics were created by Cheryl Loh, the talented designer who visualized the results of our original From Pinterest to Purchase study in 2012.)

For more information, download our paper or read it below.

By Alexandra Samuel , David Sevitt, and Lena Lam

A Turning Point in Data Collection

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