In their new study, digital marketing solutions provider G/O Digital polled 1,000 U.S. residents to gauge opinions on social media and its impact on purchasing decisions at local small businesses. What they found is probably no surprise to anyone — Facebook was found to be the most impactful with 62 percent of respondents saying they visit Facebook to learn more about small businesses and their offerings. Pinterest came in second at 12 percent with Twitter in third place at 11 percent.

So, why exactly are consumers relying so heavily on Facebook to learn about small businesses? G/O Digital’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Fagel credits the rise of mobile and the fact that more small business owners are becoming versed in Facebook advertising.

Respondents were also asked how often they use Facebook to research a small business. Thirty percent of respondents said they visit Facebook several times a day before ever setting foot in the business.

The survey also uncovered that promotions and discounts displayed on the Facebook page of a business are great for their bottom lines too. Eighty-four percent of respondents felt that an offer or deal on Facebook played a large role in their decision to purchase. Additionally, 59 percent stated they’d visited the Facebook page of a small or local business at least once a week before making a purchase. Facebook ads might also prove to be quite lucrative with 58 percent of respondents stating that they’d engaged with a Facebook ad for a small business at least once a week.

Other findings follow:

  • 80 percent said they’re more likely to purchase from a business with positive reviews
  • 38 percent said they most often engage with restaurants on Facebook vs. other types of businesses
  • Among those who said they were influenced to purchase by Facebook ads, 38 percent said it was through promoted posts while 12 percent said it was due to product photos and another 12 percent said product videos influenced them to buy
  • 36 percent said they were most likely to interact with a company who serves up targeted ads based on personal interests and past purchases
  • 20 percent said they’d interact more with a small business who uses targeted ads based on demographics
  • 27 percent were more likely to interact with targeted ads based on current location while only 17 percent said they were more likely to engage with a bold and visually appealing ad


Lafferty, Justin. “Study: Before people shop at a small business, they check Facebook”. 8/12/2014.