By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: It’s not news, it’s a matter of fact: social media impacts brand awareness and opinions, according to the latest Nielsen report which says almost three quarters of Australians are “tapping” into other consumers’ opinions as seen on social media sites.

The increased facility social media sites, such as Facebook, offer consumers and brands to interact – whether with complaints or compliments – is allowing brands unique (and often affordable) market research insight and is simultaneously offering consumers greater brand transparency.

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It is a revolution in terms of consumer and brand connections, said Melanie Ingrey, director of market research at Nielsen Online. Ingrey said Australian consumers are increasing their engagement with social commerce and “this decade’s favourite site – Facebook”.

“Social media has truly been a revolution for online Australians with the most common activity, (done by 73 per cent of online Australians) being tapping into other consumers’ opinions found on social media,” said Ingrey.

“It has been a revolution in the methods by which consumers can connect with brands, connect with other consumers to discuss brands, and source other consumers’ opinions about brands.

“To keep pace with this revolution marketers have had to evolve. Social media has provided them with more customer touch points, more methods of content and communication distribution, and more information about customers and their preferences.

“While it has not yet revolutionised marketing, social media has certainly forced a revolution in the behaviours of consumers, and an evolution of the way marketers and providers interact with those consumers and distribute content.”