Alex Butzbach

Facebook isn’t just a support channel for larger content marketing strategies – it’s a full-fledged search tool for a huge chunk of customers. This is particularly true when it comes to Millennials, as a new study from G/O Digital discovered. In fact, 62 percent of this demographic uses Facebook when researching products they want to buy.

While Facebook is a powerful social marketing tool for ecommerce sites, it’s nearly as important to brick-and-mortar locations. It turns out 58 percent of consumers who plan to buy products in-store visit businesses’ Facebook pages before they buy. The number one reason for both online and offline purchasers to visit the social network is to see what other customers think: 80 percent check customer reviews and feedback on review sites and third-party pages before buying.

Millennials flip the marketing script

This age demographic, including people between 18-29 years old, demonstrates exactly how online marketing has changed and will continue to evolve. The fact they feel most comfortable spending money after doing some Facebook research perfectly encapsulates their unique buyer’s journey.

First, Millennials clearly prefer user-generated content, as Brafton reported. It’s one thing for brands to tell consumers how great they are, but these customers are extremely skeptical. That’s why useful, actionable content and clear value propositions are the best way to convince potential buyers and business partners of a company’s expertise. For everything else, they’re going to be consulting with each other, and sites like Facebook make this increasingly easy.

There’s ample evidence Millennial consumers also want first-hand views of products and services. If they can’t get hands-on samples, the next best thing is video. If there’s a flaw in G/O Digital’s analysis, it’s that it left out the largest social network on the web: YouTube. Customers of any age are more likely to make purchases if they can view video first, and this is doubly true of Millennials.

The buying philosophy of the future

Brands are finding that as communication technology becomes more commonplace, it’s increasingly difficult to keep conversations offline. A study by business intelligence firm Inmar discovered one of the most striking differences between Millennials and their older peers is the younger group uses digital media to conduct a tremendous amount of research before any purchase, no matter how big or small. Brands that don’t have robust Facebook strategies in place and forgo video marketing, might find themselves missing out on sales from people who won’t buy if they’re questions haven’t been answered.