If you had to guess (and you do) which social media network drives the most ecommerce conversions, I’d guess that you’d say Facebook. Unless, of course, you’ve already seen this chart from the new “Myth-Busting Social Media Advertising” from AOL Platforms and Convertro.
The answer is (insert drumroll). . . .
But don’t hand over the rose bouquet just yet.
YouTube may have come out on top but it still didn’t make a very good showing with only 14%. Facebook came in second along with the much maligned Google+. How about that?
Now take a look at those long, blue lines. This represents the middle of the shopping funnel. People already have some idea of what they want but they haven’t settled on a particular brand, store or model. This is the. . . I know I want a new TV but should I get a flat screen, HD, big, small, smart, curved, Samsung or Sony, Walmart, Best Buy or somewhere else . . . portion of the game.
Clearly, people are turning to social media for recommendations, answers to questions and a definitive answer to “which is best?”
If you go by size of the line, it would appear that Twitter is king but that’s not really true. All that means is that people spend more time searching for answers than anything else on Twitter. With only a 4% conversion rate and almost non-existent “first” and “only” rate, it’s clearly not the top choice for consumers.
The chart changes drastically when you look only at paid advertising. Twitter becomes the only touchpoint in 30% of the cases and conversions triple.
What’s truly fascinating is what’s happening on the left side of the chart. On Facebook, there’s almost no difference in conversion rate between paid and organic. Paid ads on Pinterest actually convert LESS often than the organic ads. Seriously? Am I reading this wrong? That’s bizarre.
Convertro says that when you look at the whole picture, paid advertising increases social media conversions by 25%. This is where I remind you that this report was paid for by AOL advertising. Not saying it’s not correct, but we need to be clear about these things.
The report’s bottom line is that social media advertising isn’t just about brand recognition – it can actually lead to sales. While that’s true, right now, it’s not leading to the kinds of sales we all need to have to stay in business. Is paid social media advertising the answer? If you’re in the health and beauty biz, it’s a good gamble, for everyone else. . . . we still have a long way to go.