WHAT MAKES CONSUMERS PURCHASE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The latest evolution in online shopping comes with new limitations and opportunities. What worked on your ecommerce site may not make an impact in a crowded newsfeed. As consumers continue to embrace this distinctive checkout experience, understanding their motivations will be crucial to building a lucrative strategy.

Sprout Social surveyed 1,000 US consumers to better understand what’s driving perceptions and behaviors around social commerce (i.e., did TikTok really make me buy it?)

According to their data, 65% of participants have already made purchases directly through social media. US retail social commerce sales are projected to exceed $56 billion by 2023, marking an opportunity businesses can’t afford to miss out on. This report unpacks what brands can learn from these early adopters and how they can become even more competitive in this uncharted market.

Brand Awareness is the Key to Unlocking more Purchases on Social

People are spending more time on social media and consequently, they’re spending more time shopping. Seventy-one percent of consumers found themselves using social media more in the last year than ever before and 34% say they’re using it to learn about products, services and brands.

When you’re scrolling through a sea of content from friends, family and creators, posts that make you want to stop and shop are likely coming from brands you’re already familiar with. Social is one (crucial) lever in an integrated marketing strategy, so consumers may also learn about your brand in another channel and decide to turn to social for some quick product research.

Building buzz around your brand does more than just boost your reputation. Their survey found that 80% of consumers say that brand familiarity (i.e., knowledge of the brand) makes them more likely to buy on social. On top of that, their data shows a positive correlation between time spent on social media and the likelihood of purchase based on familiarity with a brand.

In an increasingly crowded social media landscape, there are myriad ways to get in front of your target audience. But what type of social content actually captures consumers’ interest when they’re inclined to buy?

When it comes to getting noticed, audiences are highly receptive to paid media. Consumers ranked in-feed ads as the most common method of finding new products to purchase, followed by discovery pages and story ads.

The takeaway: To get more ROI on social, you need to get noticed. A hybrid paid and organic social strategy can increase brand discoverability by getting your most popular content in front of relevant prospects right when they’re ready to buy.

Brands Need to Rethink Product Listings to Catch Consumer Attention

Social commerce user experiences are not one in the same. As networks continue to release transactional features that are unique to their own standards of engagement, marketers will need to rethink what an effective product listing looks like.

In this new world, the importance of compelling visual content cannot be understated. Consumers expect detailed product listings that make the most of a network’s capabilities by showcasing user-generated content, reviews, live video and more. The more detailed the listing, the more people are able to imagine the value your product can add to their day-to-day lives.


Consumers turn to social media to make connections, but they stay to get inspired by content from influencers, creators and brands. With social commerce, they now have the power to act on that inspiration with little to no friction.

As buying on social becomes faster and easier than ever, brands will have to work to unravel what’s driving purchase decisions on individual platforms. Using this data as groundwork to inform your own tests and strategies will help get you closer to your end goal—driving more sales.

If you want to set yourself up for even more success, check out our additional data on the common issues that prevent people from making purchases on social. Just a few tweaks can take your social commerce experience to the next level.