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Agence France-Presse
September 27, 2012
Research shows that Facebook can help build brands but, according to the latest online sales data, has little influence over people's buying decisions. As if you were in any doubt as to the power of Facebook to build brand awareness and create a buzz around a product, research published this week by lab24 shows just how powerful it can be. The market research company's survey of 1,000 users reveals that the overwhelming majority of us think it is the best place to interact with brands, with 50 percent claiming that a brand's Facebook page is more useful than its website.

Yet, the same study revealed that 69 percent of people who like having brands on Facebook had liked a product simply because their friends do and that, most interestingly, 22 percent have admitted to being too embarrassed to like a brand that they often use, particularly if that brand is associated with diet and weight loss, health and wellness or adult entertainment, disproving the belief that people are happy to share everything about their lives on Facebook.

However, the latest Forrester Research study -- published on September 25 --  into what influences online transactions shows that despite our growing use of social media in every aspect of our lives, only one percent of transactions it looked at could be traced back to sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

According to Forrester, in the majority of cases, we have a clear enough idea of what we want to go straight to the website in question and buy it and, when we're not sure, we still value search above other forms of marketing or influence to make our decision.