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Social Media Has Major Influence On Shopping Behavior, Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- This year's Cyber Monday was the largest shopping day in history, hitting a record-breaking $6.5 billion in online sales. A survey by a Philadelphia-based tech company finds a big shift in retailers' digital marketing is changing the way consumers shop.

Curalate helps companies promote their products through social media feeds. The OnePoll survey found that 76% of Americans have purchased products they saw on social media.

"Social holds a promise that for a lot of brands and that is billions of people spending a tremendous amount of time on these platforms that are hungry for content and that content can come from brands, said cofounder and CEO Apu Gupta. "It's a shift from shopping in store to shopping online. And so the store closings are interesting because it's not that those companies are shutting down, they're simply shifting their investment from in store to online, because that's where consumers are going."

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Over the summer, 1,000 consumers online were surveyed. Facebook was most popular with shoppers, with 52% of respondents saying they discovered a product on the social platform.

"I think we assumed it would be Instagram as number one, but this may be a reflection of the fact that many still have a very close relationship with Facebook," Gupta said. "Facebook is still where they spend a lot of time."

The highest percentage of those shopping through social media posts were -- not surprisingly -- millennials. 82% of those surveyed between ages 25 and 34 purchased a product after seeing a social media post on it.

"As consumers shift from spending in store to spending online, it's not going to be sufficient to only sell consumers what they know they want," Gupta said. "The cornerstone of retailing is about introducing people to things they never knew they needed in their lives."

Gupta has some tips to help brands win on social.

"They need to grow their audience, they need to create great content that engages, they need to engage those audiences by being really actively involved and then they do need to spend a little bit of paid money to get the word out," he said. "They also need to start looking into new ways of leveraging social networks by looking into influencers and partnering with influencers to authentically get the word out in ways that just does not achieve. There are a lot of different strategies but chief among them is patience when you're trying to grow an audience on social its much like how your grow and audience in real life. It takes time."

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