Article first published as Research Shows Top Social Networks for Driving Offline Activities on Technorati.
Connecting the dots between online social interactions and offline activities has become an increasingly important metric, but also one that is probably the most difficult to actually measure. But that didn’t stop San Diego based ACTIVE Network (NYSE: ACTV) from trying. The company, who helps businesses and organizations get participants, manage events and build communities released the findings of their ‘Beyond the Click’ survey which looked at the top 5 social networks and the role they play in driving offline activities. In total, 500 responses were collected via a web-based survey administered by survey.com, with 99% stating that they took action offline as a result of interacting online.
The three most popular offline actions taken as a result of online engagement were being able to contact someone directly, attend an event, and participate in an activity like a sport or class. In terms of contacting someone directly, Facebook and LinkedIn are more likely to promote direct contact on an in-person meeting. 40% of respondents said Facebook prompted them to meet someone in-person, while 25% said LinkedIn did. This is in addition to the 70% of respondents who were prompted by Facebook to contact someone, and the 56% of people who were prompted by LinkedIn.
Driving Event Participation
As far as participation in an event such as a class, seminar, sport or conference, Facebook and Twitter were the two most likely to drive this type of engagement. 58% were driven by Facebook to attend an event, and 44% participated in an activity due to the social networking giant. Twitter also prompted participation in events and activities, although not to the extent Facebook did. 31% said Twitter was the influence for them attending an event and 25% for participating in an activity.
In terms of spending, the findings were particularly interesting. Again, Facebook was the largest influencer with 23% of respondents saying it drove them to purchase something, but upstart visual bookmarking site Pinterest wasn’t far behind with 21% claiming to have been influenced to purchase something due to that social network interaction. Now, what is interesting is that ACTIVE looked not only at purchases but donations. In the wake of national tragedies, disasters, etc. social media has played a key role in helping people raise money for worthy causes. In the findings, Facebook and Twitter were the most influential, with 29% saying Facebook drove them to donate, while 11% were influenced by Twitter to donate to a cause.
“While it’s easy to measure online interactions in clicks or shares, it is very hard to measure resulting offline actions and their economic value to a business,” said Kristin Carroll, vice president of corporate and consumer marketing at ACTIVE Network. “The closest most companies have come to measuring the impact of social media is tracking purchases generated or putting an arbitrary dollar value on a click. But, as this survey shows, users can take many other offline actions that have an economic impact, and can lead directly to an increase in sales of offline activity.”
ACTIVE Network provides cloud-based technology to power activities, from marathons to youth camps to fishing to business meetings and conferences. “Our research in this area helps us evolve our offerings to develop ways our business customers can drive attendance, participation and revenue”, continues Carroll.
A summary of the survey findings are also presented in the below infographic: