Sorry, Twitter and LinkedIn; Facebook beats you for purchasing decisions
Dubai - Dubai 24% of B2B decision makers trust Facebook
Facebook has overtaken Twitter and LinkedIn as the preferred social channel of choice when seeking information on a purchasing decision, new research has revealed.
The findings of the "Changing Face of Influence" joint report by Active Digital Marketing Communications, Hotwire and Vanson Bourne, state that the myth that Facebook isn't a channel for B2B marketing is dead, as 24 per cent of B2B decision makers picked facebook as their primary channel for purchase research.
The survey of 1,000 business decision makers on their habits, preferred channels and the sources of information that influence their purchasing decisions, also found that LinkedIn was cited as a preferred channel by just 17 per cent of decision makers; ranking far ahead of Twitter, which was the primary source of information for just six per cent of decision makers.
Despite this preference for facebook as a source of information, 30 per cent of marketers do not plan to use facebook in their own B2B marketing - highlighting the gulf between the way decision makers use social media themselves and how they think their peers use it.
Louay Al Samarrai, managing partner at Active Digital Marketing Communications, believes that there are two reasons why some marketers are still hesitant to use facebook in their marketing campaigns. The first is a lack of understanding of how to maximise the use of social media generally.
"A majority of the companies and organisations that can really benefit don't see the benefit of investing in an agency that can add value and assist them in mapping out a programme to do this; or they can't afford the professional advice they need, and opt for cheaper options that offer very basic and in some cases completely inaccurate advice," he said.
"The second is a perception that it is a very consumer focused medium, when in fact it has a role to play in many other areas and sectors as a means of getting timely and honest feedback; of informing and then engaging stakeholders in new products and solutions; as well as how to maximise their enjoyment, use of or performance of them," he added.
John Brown, group head of engagement at Hotwire, says that it is time to put to bed the myth of some channels only being suitable for B2B comms and others for B2C.
"Social media has eroded these divides and created an environment where what matters is how compelling the story is, not where decision makers see the story. We need to stop making assumptions about what our audience want and allow research and insight to guide how we create multichannel campaigns. B2B businesses who ignore channels because they view them as only being for consumers are in for a rude shock when they realise no one cares about the channels they've lovingly invested in."
Samarrai also added that when looking at the numbers of social media users in the Middle East, companies cannot fail to realise that it is an incredibly important element of the marketing mix. In 2015, according to a report by Benchmark Middle East, the number of social media users in the UAE for facebook was five million, LinkedIn was 2.1 million, and Twitter had 502,000 active users.
"Lately, we have seen other social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat gaining popularity in the region, and also playing a significant role in communications. The sudden move from Instagram to Snapchat is evidence of how technology can also change the rules of the game, and this is also a factor that needs considering," he said. - firstname.lastname@example.org