Social websites were the first place users read about a product 27% of the time.
Social networking websites have been driving more customers to online retailers but rarely receive the financial reward for doing so, new research by Skimlinks and Shop Direct has revealed.
The study of clicks from Skimlinks content site between July and November 2012 found that social websites were the first place users read about a product 27% of the time, with users checking them before buying a product 36% of the time.
And 55% of users who bought through a content website were first time customers.
However, content sites were the last click only 6% of the time, meaning content sites were not awarded the sale 94% of the time.
The study also revealed that content sites content sites had driven about 30% more new customers to brand sites than the average of all other channels.
And when users started reading about a product on a content site, their desire to purchase grew over time, with in 9% of the sales occurring within one hour, 16% within 24 hours and 31% within 3 days.
Alicia Navarro, CEO and co-founder of Skimlinks said that better attribution is required.
"By only remunerating the last-click publisher, you create the wrong incentives, and end up with a ton of low-value deal/coupon sites, rather than rich apps and content, who have less incentive to link out to merchants because they don’t get paid for top-of-funnel activity via affiliate marketing," she explained.
Ryan Jones, online marketing executive at Shop Direct, said: "Retailers may find the prospect of paying on an alternative model to last click daunting given the likelihood of an increase in marketing costs.