Study: 42 percent of people follow or friend a brand

And a whopping 89 percent say search engines likes Google and Bing affect their purchase decisions, according to this Fleishman-Hillard study.

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In its annual Digital Influence Index, Fleishman-Hillard explored how search engines affect purchasing decisions and found a whopping 89 percent of consumers turn to search engines like Google and Bing to find information on products and services before they buy.

The study also highlights Facebook’s importance in brand marketing. Among the findings:

• Nearly half of those surveyed (42 percent) currently follow or friend a brand on a social networking site. While the reasons vary widely by country, the overall greatest motivation: to learn more about the brand (79 percent).

• Nearly one in five individuals now looks to Facebook to obtain information about a brand or product.

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