Since the early days of social media, the big question has been around measuring the return on investment. While it’s nice to know the value of a Facebook “like,” the real challenge for businesses is converting social media fans into paying customers.
A recent study from Adobe Digital Index, which tracked about 60 of the top 100 brands, indicates that marketers are getting smarter about engaging with social media audiences and seeing a higher return for social media marketing. In fact, revenue over cost was up nearly 60 percent in Q3 2013.
According to Adobe Digital Index Analyst Joe Martin, attributes this trend to a “social storm” of likes, retweets and pins being driven by a combination of demands by brands and consumers, and changes being made to platforms themselves. Facebook added graph search. Twitter added geo-targeting to its ads. Pinterest announced the beta launch of promoted pins. He says marketers are also getting better at engaging with consumers and customers are reciprocating by becoming brand fans on social media.
“Revenue is up, traffic is up, ad spending is up and click-through rates are up, with posts from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr seeing the greatest results,” Martin says.
The report also indicated that while Facebook is still the leader in referral traffic, as the entire world of social media grows, Facebook shares are depleting. At the same time, Twitter referral traffic is up more than 250 percent and referrals from Pinterest are up more than 80 percent, with Pinterest emerging as a leader in retail conversions.
In fact, Martin says that Pinterest is driving more traffic to retail sites than Reddit, YouTube and Twitter combined. While the data indicates that some of the power of Pinterest may be its focus on image based content, Martin says Pinterest is optimized for retail in general.
“Facebook and Twitter are kind of all over the place and there’s not necessarily a niche,” Martin says. “Pinterest is really a retail driven site and I think that’s why they’re eventually going to overtake Facebook in terms of referring revenue.”
According to the report, Tumblr may be the most underrated of all the networks when it comes to retail conversions. When it comes to consumer sentiment, which is measure based on a ration of positive to negative comments, Tumblr has the most positive consumer sentiment of all the social platforms.
“People are using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to vent about brands more so than they are on Tumblr,” Martin says.
While Facebook likes are down as a form of consumer engagement, consumer engagement in the form of comments and shares are up 115 percent. He says this is a sign that consumers are engaged and may have an appetite for more brand content in general.
“[Consumers] are willing to comment or share something which they may get bugged about in their notification bar later but they’re willing to do that because they love a product on they’re just a fan of the company,” Martin says.
Featured image courtesy of Jason A. Howie