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Social Media Better For eCommerce Brand Awareness Than Referrals

July 25, 2013 0 Comments RSS Feed

A new white paper from Monetate reveals that although social media provides low conversion rates on eCommerce referrals, its efficacy for building brand awareness makes for a solid ROI.

The study, which analyzed 500 million referrals, showed that over half of all eCommerce site visits were the result of direct traffic or had no known referrer, and another 31% were the result of search engine referrals. Social media referrals constituted just 1.55% of visits with a fairly low conversion rate of 0.71%.

Those figures may dismay social media marketers hoping for a demonstrable ROI from their activity on social media networks. However, as the report points out, these figures aren’t a true reflection of the value of social media for eCommerce brands.

The “last click” metric can be misleading, and it obscures many of the benefits that social media marketing can bestow on brands that aren’t quite so easy to measure.


It can be difficult for some companies to build a persona that is appealing and sympathetic to consumers. Social media can be a powerful way to build a brand by creating, sharing, and promoting content that entertains and engages the attention of users.

There are numerous success stories in this vein, including companies like Charmin and Old Spice, neither of whom could be called the coolest of brands, and yet, they’ve made fantastic use of Twitter to create funny and entertaining brand images for themselves.

A brand-new video for a brand-new shaving gel product to give you a brand new sense of a brand-new you.

— Old Spice (@OldSpice) May 16, 2013

Now, no matter how funny the Charmin Twitter stream is, it’s unlikely in the extreme that anyone is going to follow a link and buy their product immediately. However, when the time comes, Charmin’s brand is going to be at the front of consumer’s minds.

Has your Monday gone down the toilet?” []…

— Charmin(@Charmin) May 20, 2013

Top-of-mind brand awareness is a crucial component of consumer’s buying decisions. In a well-run campaign, a social media presence takes place within the context of numerous other strategies, including:

  • The creation of content released through other channels, like YouTube, blogs, and native advertising that can be promoted through social media.
  • Display advertising.
  • Social media retargeting.

Each of which contributes to raising brand awareness.

The unfortunate truth is that eCommerce brands are seeing such low conversion rates from social media marketing because many of them just aren’t doing a very good job of it. There’s a habit among many eCommerce retailers to create an account and spam it with product listings and nakedly promotional content. Social media is the last place where that technique will be effective. Social media feels very personal to people, and the hard sell is often seen as an unwanted intrusion. However, content that amuses, educates, and engages is more than welcome.

Measuring social media ROI has always been difficult, but it’s an unbeatable direct connection to potential consumers for branding and for word-of-mouth awareness building.

Posted in: Nexcess