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How Do You “Like” Me Now?


The Facebook “like” button is how consumers prefer to support local businesses online. A new study by CityGrid Media conducted by Harris Interactive® also shows that consumers are doing their homework when it comes to making decisions about which local businesses to frequent, but no one factor or source overwhelmingly influences the final choice–including those highly-touted deals and discounts.

“Surprisingly enough, Likes are trumping reviews when it comes to sharing feedback, but this does not translate to Facebook being the first or only place consumers turn when deciding to try someplace new,” said Kara Nortman, SVP, Publishing at CityGrid Media. “What this means for small businesses on the Web is that they should encourage Likes, but also round out marketing efforts to reach consumers across a variety of touchpoints. The truth is, there’s no one silver bullet to influence people that are choosing local businesses on or offline.”

Key findings:

Likes Trump Reviews; but Face to Face Wins Over All

  • Three-quarters of people (75%) tell their friends
  • 20% of people say they “Like” it on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13% who write a review
    • Millennials are even more likely to favor Facebook over reviews, as are women:
      • 40% of people under 35 “Like” a business; that went to 49% in the 18-24 group, versus 18% who said they would write a review
      • 25% of women hit the “Like” button, versus 11% who write reviews

People do Their Homework, but The Deal’s Just Extra Credit

While Facebook may be one of the first places people go to give feedback on a business, it’s certainly not the only stop. Surprisingly, despite a sluggish economy and the frenzied attention as of late, discounts and offers are not a major factor in how consumers choose a merchant.

  • More than half (52%) of adults under 35 visit more than two websites before checking out a local business
    • 63% of respondents under 35 head to Google
    • 24% visit Facebook; 21% look at reviews sites and 17% copped to clicking on the first link on the search results page (whatever that link may be…)
  • Less than one in ten people (8%) said a deal is the number one thing that influences them to try a local business

People Care About the Face Behind the Name

When doing their homework, those under 35 report that the business owner’s feedback may carry equal weight to input from friends or social networks. So, when doing online marketing—be it Facebooking, tweeting or responding to reviews—be sure your spirit is represented along with your specials.

  • Almost half (47%) of people under age 35 are more influenced to try a business from the owner of the establishment than a friend

CityGrid Media commissioned Harris Interactive to field this study, which was conducted by telephone between March 16—20, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,006 adults. For more on the study, visit IAC.

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