By adaptive - September 9th, 2014

Using multi-touch attribution enables the performance of ads on social media to be assessed and measured

If your corporation laments the performance of its social media ads, a new report from AOL Platforms and Convertro offers detailed insight into current ad performance and how this can be enhanced.

“Marketers intuitively know the power of social media and its virality, but they also want metrics that go beyond tracking clicks, likes and retweets,” the report states. “This includes more qualitative measurement to better explain the return on investment (ROI), such as how a specific social channel influenced a purchase online or in-store.

“To understand how social media channels contribute to an advertiser’s efforts, we leveraged Convertro’s multi-touch attribution technology to analyze all social media exposures that occurred in Q1 2014 across its entire client base. This data uncovers how social channels influenced sales conversions and to what extent, and how brands can use this information to optimize their media spend. To reveal true user action, this report is based on real world, third party customer data rather than relying on survey data, which can be unreliable.”

Sales funnel position by social network

The conclusions of the report include:

Social media works for brands

Social provides significant impact on a customer’s path to purchase and strongly influences their buying decisions.

Paid social performs

Paid social media advertising transforms the medium from an influencer tool into an effective upper and lower funnel solution that directly moves the needle on sales.

Paid advertising performance differs on each social network

Some social networks are more conducive to awareness vs. conversions.

The value of social depends on the product vertical

Social performance is not ubiquitous across all advertiser verticals—it varies by channel and product category.

Social media sites vary widely with respect to how much they contribute to a consumer’s path to purchase. This is made abundantly clear by dissecting social channels by where they fall in the sales funnel. In our analysis, YouTube appeared to be the strongest of the social networks at introducing new products (18%) and driving conversions (14%). This is a good indication that video is an important format for advertising to potential customers. Facebook came in a close second place in terms of introducing new products (11%) and closing sales (10%).

Funnel position by social network

The report continues: “While analyzing social channels in aggregate is useful, to get a better sense of the direct effect advertising has on generating sales—rather than likes, retweets, pins and other user interactions—we examined paid versus organic social marketing campaigns to get a more granular look at how social media drives sales. To ensure a statistically significant comparison, we focused on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

“The data shows an interesting trend for the operators of social sites and marketers alike: while organic social advertising is usually a middle touch point that marketers can leverage to keep the consumers engaged and accelerate conversion, paid social advertising definitely works for new customer acquisition tactics, appearing many times as FIRST or ONLY touchpoints.”

There is a commercial component to your corporation’s social media activity. However, social media ad performance has a long way to go yet to match the returns that your business enjoys using other established ad techniques. Market sector also plays a role here with some sectors such as health and beauty seeing high levels of ad performance via social media. This has of course been the case for some time, but what is clear is that not all social ads are made the same, and their product or service being promoted has a massive impact on conversion.

Social media impact on path to purchase

Corporations need to continue with their efforts to uncover the DNA of the social ad space, which will eventually mature and potentially surpass existing ad mechanisms.

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