Website or social media: what drives Belgian businesses?

05 April 2024

In today’s fast evolving world, every business knows that digital communication plays a crucial role. Online presence as such has taken a big turn in the past years, with an increasing interest toward social media. What drives businesses to choose a website, social media or both? Let’s dive into the learnings obtained from research we conducted in 2023.

In terms of brand protection, it is smart to register the name of your brand or company as a domain name. Price isn't an argument, as you already register a domain name for 10 euros.

This way, you avoid abuse or exorbitant prices for when you do want to start a website in the future.

Insights on websites 

The motivations for choosing to use a website are diverse but related to credibility and trustworthiness. It is found to be more reliable and secure. On the customer side of things, it is found to help create brand loyalty and allow 24/7 availability for people.  

However, when asked about it, 60% of companies do not plan to create a website. This decision is motivated by the fact that a website may require a lot of resources and knowledge. Something to keep in mind before creating your website. The rise of social media also plays a part in this as they may simply be preferred by companies. This may create a belief that a website is thus not necessary for their type of business. 

Insights on social media

It is rare for companies to opt for social media exclusively, this method being mainly confined to sole proprietors. In general, social media are used to complement a company’s website

So, why would a company choose social media as their main way to communicate? Well, for their simplicity. In fact, customers are already there, social media provide customers with necessary information quickly. It also enables some form of direct connection to the audience and may generate more leads to the website

Where are the limitations of social media? A social media account is never your property; there are drawbacks to that. You are dependent on the policies of, often, large American or Chinese companies. Consider how Twitter evolved to X under the leadership of Elon Musk. You are also tied to a certain functionality, design or content possibilities offered by the platform. A website's greatest asset is ownership: you are in control. 

Being findable only on social media may come up with a lack of trust from customers. Our research shows that social media are perceived as less reliable for making purchases. On the same note, entrepreneurs also trust a company's website much more than its social media.  

While both websites and social media platforms offer unique advantages for businesses, the decision to prioritize one over the other ultimately depends on individual goals, resources, and target audiences. Nonetheless, embracing a balanced approach between each platform could maximize the effectiveness of a business’ online presence.

Four different research were conducted in 2023, with both professional and non-professional audiences:

  • Market research on .be rants via our own registrars.
  • Yearly research conducted on end users (entrepreneurial Belgian and general Belgian) on domain names.
  • Market research by bachelor's students of KULB on Belgian companies’ online presence.
  • Market research by master’s students of VUB on motivations to use websites or social media for start-ups and SMEs.

The aim was to obtain data and insights on website vs social media in the realm of Belgian citizens and companies

You can also find additional results and insights from market research here.

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.