Earlier this week I moderated a panel at the SXSW conference entitled: “Social Commerce: Not Yet Taking Off Like Farmville.” The session explored the nature of “social commerce” and why companies were having trouble selling on Facebook, among other things. One of the basic ideas expressed was that people aren’t looking to “shop” on Facebook; they’re sharing with friends, having fun and so on.
Those sentiments appear to be widespread and confirmed by a new survey from BlogHer, the women-centric blog network. The online survey was conducted last month among readers of the blog network and general US internet users. The total suvey sample was 2,071 women and just over 500 men.
The survey findings must be viewed with some caution because, in part, they’re being used as an argument to advertisers for why blogs are a more effective way to reach consumers than social destinations. However there are some interesting data points in there.
Social media upstart Pinterest is more “trusted” as an information source than Facebook and Twitter by general internet users. It’s also more influential among general internet users on purchase decisions.
One question asks, “Have you ever made a purchase based on a recommendation from . . .” While the BlogHer respondents ranked Facebook and Pinterest nearly equally, among general internet users Pinterest bested both Facebook and Twitter.
The survey suggests that the “culture” of Facebook is somewhat in conflict with purchase behavior — at least “intent-based” purchase activity. With the exception of “seek advice and recommendations,” most people didn’t see Facebook as a tool to help “get product information” or “make purchase decisions.” Instead it’s a place “to have fun,” “for entertainment” and “to stay up to date with friends and family.”
By contrast Pinterest is seen as a place “to have fun,” as well as “get product information” and “find out about new products.”
As I mentioned the results here must be viewed cautiously. However it confirms other evidence and underscores some of the challenges that Facebook continues to face as it seeks to be a “commerce platform.” It also reflects Pinterest’s opportunity.