Walmart’s Social Is Getting 10X ROI and Tens of Thousands of Daily Interactions

Impressive stats disclosed at ANA conference

Headshot of Christopher Heine

During his morning keynote today at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Walmart marketing chief Stephen Quinn said, "Our interactions on Facebook are important." And if you look at some of his numbers, the comment was probably a major understatement.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant sees a half-million monthly pieces of user-generated content—the lion's share on Facebook and Twitter. And it benefits from a staggering flow of daily engagement that spikes during November. Speaking with Adweek, Quinn and his team shared that they saw 62,000 Facebook posts from consumers on Black Friday alone last year. The comment rate was 42 per minute that day. That kind of explosive activity is part of the reason, per his team, Walmart is getting a "marketing equivalent" of 10X return-on-investment (ROI) on Facebook and Twitter compared to other advertising spends.

"It's very staggering," Quinn said, off-stage. "It is so intense on Black Friday. It's almost like a mission control center for Walmart at that point."

The cmo said Facebook rates "really high" compared to other marketing channels. Since Walmart's page on the social site began to skyrocket in 2009, his brand has dedicated talent and dollars to creating a ROI-proving system for social media, Quinn explained.

"I'm always baffled when I hear people say, 'It's really hard to prove the ROI,'" he said. "We have ROI that's really strong. And, it's transforming our organization. This level of engagement we now have with customers is changing a whole bunch of other aspects of our marketing."

Walmart has 31 million Facebook fans in the U.S.—more than any other brand on the social platform, as well as 386,000 Twitter followers. It uses content marketing vendor LiveWorld to help manage all the buzz.

"When you are [publishing] six, seven, eight posts a day," Quinn said, "you need people who are able to turn on a dime and react to those things."

Lastly, another interesting reveal from Quinn: Walmart, by the end of 2013, will have shot 1,500 local TV spots with real moms from over 70 markets.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.