One of the big questions hovering over e-commerce in recent years is that with the advent of social media platforms – does even having a domain name/website matter these days?

The Domain Name Association part of the i2Coalition sought to answer this question with some hard data by conducting a survey of US consumers (they’d like to survey internationally in the future).

The result?

Resoundingly, consumers expect to do business with someone who has their own domain and website. They trust it more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Here are the four main takeaways from the survey:

  • Consumers place importance on a business having a domain as an indicator of legitimacy
  • Consumers value purchasing from a domain rather than a social site across industries, especially for pharma and tech.
  • Consumers find businesses with a domain notably more trustworthy than those without, feeling there is less risk of scam or fraud.
  • Social is seen as good for making a personal connection with a business, but domains inspire more confidence in all other realms, especially reliability & security.
  • A supermajority of consumers trust a business with a domain name more than a business with only social presence. 79% trust a domain more than social.

So, while these days the customer journey might begin on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, they still expect to go to a ‘real’ website to complete any transaction involving money.

Who answered the survey? In May 2021, the i2Coalition engaged with market research expert Brooke Edge, PhD., at OpenEye Partners to conduct a representative survey of more than 300 Millennials1 (25 to 40 years old) on their consumer activity and attitudes relating to domain names and social media.

This is the generation that grew up online – these digital natives are perfectly comfortable purchasing online and adapting to new platforms as they become popular. Even with this in-grown ability to adapt, these millennials still expect someone they’re doing business with to have a domain name and website.

The study also found, though, that this view changes based on the industry the purchase is being made in. This graphic illustrates the perception – more high-value purchases are expected to be operating on their own domain.

At Blacknight, the results of this survey were definitely something we thought to be true for many years, but it’s nice to have actual hard numbers to back it up, especially with the growing popularity of social media. It proves that while you should still build your profile on these platforms, your goal should still be to send people to your OWN website on your OWN domain.

That is where e-commerce success lies, and it makes it so you don’t ever rely on one social network – important in the days of changing algorithms and rising advertising prices.

If you build a big enough customer base and platform, you don’t NEED the social networks, and you can’t do that without a domain and a website. Both things Blacknight can, of course, help you with!

You can read the full results of the survey here.

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