STUDY: How Much Is a Social Share Really Worth?

Facebook rules social, but email marketing is most effective when talking $$$.

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We’re all aware of the growing pressure on PR agencies to prove the value of their work. As Ted Birkhahn of Peppercomm put it in our recent interview on changes in the industry, most client contacts are marketers who have to send big numbers to their own bosses.

On that note, how do we determine the value of the all-important engagement — especially on social media?

AddShoppers, a company that provides data to thousands of e-commerce companies, recently released a report to answer that question with numbers. Its 2014 Social Commerce Breakdown report is worth a glance for anyone involved in social commerce, and its findings don’t surprise so much as confirm what we already knew:

  • Shoppers who either arrived at a retail site from a social network or shared the link themselves spent, on average, 8.2 percent more than “socially non-engaged users”

Email still rules when it comes to driving retail results, though:

  • The average purchase total for someone responding to an email was $12.41
  • For Google+ it was $5.62
  • For Facebook it was $0.80
  • For a Pinterest, $0.67 per pin
  • For Twitter? $1.03

These findings may reflect the fact that very few people actively use Google+ and that Twitter, despite its revenue problems, can lead to sales if it encourages users to click.

“Conversion rates” for the various networks follow a similar pattern:

  • 9.39 percent for email
  • 3.70 percent for Google+
  • 2.66 percent for Facebook
  • 0.62 percent for Twitter
  • 0.45 percent for Pinterest

In terms of the “other” networks, the study’s conclusion is “don’t bother” when you’re looking to drive sales: numbers for LinkedIn, tumblr, and others are negligible…which is probably because people don’t visit them to shop.

The big conclusions on the social front: Facebook dominates due to its scale, Pinterest has yet to fully deliver on its potential for marketers, and Twitter can be effective at driving sales when used correctly.

Any surprises?