Traditional marketing more influential than digital advertising and social media

By Geraint Evans

Research recently released by Steria, the IT and business services provider, reveals that despite the apparent growth in digital advertising, physical advertising still exerts a greater influence when it comes to consumer purchasing decisions.

The research, conducted by YouGov, revealed the limited influence of paid-for digital advertising compared to traditional forms of marketing. In-store advertising was cited as an influence on purchasing decisions by 28% of respondents, while newspaper and magazine adverts were identified by 27%. In comparison, 18% were influenced by online advertising, 9% by ads on social networks while the figure for mobile ads was just 7%.

However, while advertising on social media failed to exert much influence over respondents, recommendations from friends did. The research found that it is human opinions that count most for our purchasing decisions – the views of friends were seen as the most influential factor, chosen by 57% of respondents, while 40% of respondents said they were even influenced by people they don’t know, whether they heard the views in person or saw them online. If broken down by age, this figure was significantly higher from those respondents aged 18 to 24 (54%) and 25 to 34 (58%), indicating a significant generational shift from those aged 55 and over. In this age category, only 26% said they were influenced by people they don’t know, with a clear majority (71%) saying that strangers exerted little or no influence over their purchasing decisions.

Rather than suggest that we replace one sort of marketing with another, today’s findings illustrate just how versatile the modern marketer has to be. Consumer buying behaviour differs greatly depending on factors like age, location and gender. Companies wishing to get an edge over the competition will need to show a clear understanding of both online and offline channels, and how consumers best respond to them. Part of this means providing appropriate tools and functionality to make the shopping experience as quick and easy as possible.


The research was conducted by YouGov and in terms of additional detail the total sample size was 2014 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The research was commissioned by IT firm Steria, and I have included details on the company below. Do let me know if you require further details or if you have any additional questions.

About the author

Geraint Evans is multichannel director at Steria UK.

Steria delivers IT enabled business services and is the trusted transformation partner for private and public sectors organisations across the globe. By combining in depth understanding of our clients’ businesses with expertise in IT and business process outsourcing, we take on our clients’ challenges and develop innovative solutions to address them efficiently and profitably. Through our highly collaborative consulting style, we work with our clients to transform their business, enabling them to focus on what they do best. Our 20,000 people, working across 16 countries, support the systems, services and processes that make today’s world turn, touching the lives of millions around the globe each day. Founded in 1969, Steria has offices in Europe, India, North Africa and SE Asia and a 2011 revenue of €1.75 billion. 21%(*) of Steria’s capital is owned by its employees. Headquartered in Paris, Steria is listed on the Euronext Paris market.

(*): including the Employees Shares Trust in the UK

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