The chicken or the egg? If everything must have a clearly-defined beginning to reach a natural conclusion, then surely something had to come first. But, as it pertains to these causal elements, it would seem that understanding the sequence of events is still up for debate
The Virtuous Circle:
The Role of Search and Social Media in the Purchase Pathway
By GroupM Search
The consumer journey toward purchase has in many ways become like this with more new media drivers, such as Google and Microsoft, and misdirection, via consumer opinions on blogs and Facebook, making the beginning and end of the path, less apparent to advertisers.
As a result, brands are unsure which came first and how best to motivate consumers to engage with their brands during and after the purchase path. In 2009, GroupM Search released the first industry study ever conducted exploring the interplay between search and social media, titled The Influenced: Social Media, Search, and the Interplay of Consideration and Consumption (see inset).
In this study, GroupM Search sought to understand the relationship consumers were establishing with brands via both search and social media. While search has become a ubiquitous term, as is well defined by the likes of Google, social media remains a more nebulous phrase. For this research social media is defined as the destinations which create communities or networks for sharing of information in word, image or video.
These destinations range from brand-owned social media, such as a brand’s blog, to earned social media, such as content about a category created by the community and fostered by the brand, to paid social media, such as sponsored and/or promoted areas of sites, including Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
Download the full report The Virtuous Circle, The Role of Search and Social Media in the Purchase Pathway
(pdf, 2.2 Mb)