Social Media Research

53% of Americans Who Follow Brands in Social Are More Loyal To Those Brands

Loyalty To Brands On Social Tapers With Age - Edison Research

Jay Baer Blog PostEvery time I look through the results of The Social Habit, I find some new, fascinating tidbit that makes me think (or rethink) assumptions about social, consumers, and media consumption.

I want to show you the full Monty (data-wise) but the The Social Habit research is subscribers-only. (you can get it all, and first, by subscribing. Packages start at just $347, and you get exclusive access to our grand unveiling Webinar this Thursday, October 11).

Meanwhile, I’ll give you some appetizers, like this one:

53% of Americans 12+ who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands.

Measuring social media continues to be a challenge. Even though divining social media ROI is 100% possible, it does require some effort to calculate. The truth is that many companies don’t have the resources, inclination, or expertise to calculate true ROI. Nor do they calculate the precise ROI of newspaper ads, golf balls with their logo on them, or trade show attendance.

So the day-to-day reality is that many companies believe in their bones that social media works, but aren’t sure precisely how, or where, or in what fashion. Simultaneously, many marketers are under the impression that social media (Facebook, in particular) is a top of the funnel tactic. A survey of corporate marketers by Wildfire (now owned by Google) this year found that 44% of respondents viewed Facebook as a good place to acquire new customers.

Social Media is for Retention, not Acquisition

I believe the opposite to be true, that social media (and Facebook, in particular) is mostly a retention and churn reduction tactic – the thing your company uses to keep customers coming back for more and telling their friends (not unlike email, incidentally).

This new finding from The Social Habit ratifies the potential effectiveness of this “focus on your existing customers” approach, and gives companies a path to understanding the actual financial impact of social.

But as with all things in social media, your results may vary.

Loyalty in Social Media Declines with Age

It’s fascinating to me that our findings show that increased loyalty to companies followed in social tapers with age, once adulthood is reached.

  • 66% of 18-24 year-old Americans who have followed a company in social are more loyal to those companies.
  • It’s 60% among 25-34 year olds
  • 53% among 35-44 year olds
  • 45% among 45-54 year olds
  • and just 39% among the 55 and older set

As we age, does the siren song of social interaction begin to fall on deaf ears? Is resistance to the charms of companies in social part of the aging process? Or as we age are we just exposed to so many more companies that our decisions about loyalty are made on a more practical, prosaic level than anything ephemerally nifty that’s served up in social?

I’m not certain. But, this data does make a case that brands targeting a younger customer may see a greater revenue/profit impact from social over time, given the much higher loyalty effect in play.

Beer Pong + Social Media = Awesome.
Metamucil + Social Media = Maybe Less So.

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    Great data. Wonder how things will evolve as older age groups get more into social media. Or not as the case may be. It may be also a function of what they expect. Really interesting analysis and advice. Thanks

  2. says

    Jay, interesting data. I have to wonder at the conclusion that there is a loyalty impact that stems from social. Does the data show that social makes us more loyal, or may it indicate that we are more likely to follow the brands we are loyal to?

  3. says

    My first thought on the age breakdown in regards to loyalty is that the younger group doesn’t care so much about coupons and deals. They love a brand regardless if it costs $100 or $1 – it’s still the brand they choose. Now as we get older, we have loyalties to brands but it’s not 100% and especially on Facebook where the #1 motivator to ‘like’ something is to unlock a deal. Would an adult be more likely to go for the deal than to remain loyal? I would say so – at least more so than an 18 year old.

  4. says

    With the generational concept I find it hard to put weight into the % since the older generations because of their lack of acceptance and lack of time spent in social media will naturally be more skeptical…

    That’s obviously my opinion but based on my own business and industry (insurance) that’s what we’ve seen.



  5. says

    interesting data. I’d rather think that older adults (65 and better) don’t care that much in number of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. They are more interested in ‘real’ deal, the actual added value specific brand can offer.

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