By Nick Johnson - March 22nd, 2010

...and here's me thinking I'd be able to post interesting little gobbets of observation throughout the week, and then do a nice summing up at the end. It hasn't quite panned out like that. Anyway,...

...and here's me thinking I'd be able to post interesting little gobbets of observation throughout the week, and then do a nice summing up at the end. It hasn't quite panned out like that.

Anyway, on to this week's social media vs traditional marketing showdown. Oh, and this week there will be more 'vs traditional marketing' than last time, promise.

I'm going to keep to the same format because I haven't had any complaints. Feel free to shoot down this attitude in the comments below.


Social Media

LinkedIn: Two things. On Wednesday/Thursday, I sent out a short note to people in the same groups as me, letting them know about the conference itself. I got in touch with about 900 people this way. As well as that, I've just started a discussion in a few groups about social media marketing vs traditional marketing. I linked to this blog. It's all getting very self-referential. That was more of a content piece though, whereas the short notes were very much sales pieces.

Twitter: 19 tweets -  5 retweets, 3 - 4 news articles, couple of  chatty ones about the weather (I'm British), a few 'thanks for the retweet' to people that have been talking about the summit online, and a short discussion with another conference organiser that decided to use our hashtag (which is #csm10 if you're interested).

Facebook: Short note about the last blog entry, and a message saying "What do you want from this Facebook page?".


Email to people that have downloaded a pdf of the conference brochure

Email to people that have downloaded a pdf of the white paper

Email to relevant job titles from our database

Banner advertisement in a newsletter going out to 120,000 people


The Basics

11 more Twitter followers, 4 more Facebook fans, 4 more members of our LinkedIn group, a total of 941 readers of my brochure/white paper on document storage sites. 7 x comments on my blog (it's looking up!).


  • 35.14% of my site traffic was 'direct' (which I am assuming was in response to my emails)
  • 18.50% was from 'referring sites'
  • 7.48% was from search engines
  • 38.88% was from 'other' (if anyone can tell me how to get more detail on what this represents, I would love to hear)

The top five sources of traffic to my site were:

  1. Direct Traffic (35.14% - down XXX% on last week)
  2. A text ad in a newsletter (20.73% of ALL traffic)
  3. LinkedIn (10.81% - up XXX on last week)
  4. Marketing via email to internal lists (8.52%
  5. Organic Search (7.48%)

Focusing on the traffic that social media marketing pushed to my site, I get the following

  1. LinkedIn (10.81% - up from 6.86%)
  2. Twitter (2.10% - down from 4.18%)
  3. Facebook (0.83% - up from unmeasurably small to only just measurably small)
  4. Visits directly from White Paper (0.83% - I am now measuring this)

Therefore my social media activity made up 14.57% of all traffic to my website this week.


Do the sums add up?  Yes - social media is driving more direct visitors to my site than email. Whilst I am too coquettish to give you absolute numbers, I can say that only 6.33% of my traffic can definitely be attributed to last weeks' internal emails, whilst I can attribute a massive 14.57% to social media. That's pretty huge, yes?

As well as this, traffic from social media has grown as a proportion of all traffic in the last week. That's good. It's up from 12.26% last week, and  is coupled with a drop in the time that I estimate I spent on social media this week. I reckon about 20%, down from 30%. Suddenly the numbers look a lot nicer...

However, my assertion that one can reasonably expect % of traffic to grow with little additional effort has been confirmed - for this week at least. That's good news.

An interesting aside on content-based marketing: Only 9.3% of the people that have downloaded my white paper have then downloaded a conference brochure.

It's worth boosting that number: Sending white paper readers an email pushing the conference directly results in clickthrough rates of 4%. Sending brochure readers the same email results in a doubling of the clickthrough rate - to 8%. That's a fairly significant difference. It's clear that white paper readers are not the same quality as brochure readers. It's clear we need to take them on a journey. Rather than pushing these people to sign up for the conference, I should push them to download a brochure. It adds another step, but I think it would be worth it.

The content-based marketing aside can inform social media strategy: If only by forcing us to realise that 'social media leads' are nowhere near as valuable as 'traditional leads'. It's easy to get excited when you get a boost of 10% in your website traffic. Or when you get a hundred extra Twitter followers. But, in and of itself, it simply doesn't matter. Or rather, it matters, but is roughly XX% as important as having someone sign up directly for information on your product.

And the analysis above has led me to refine my goals with this experiment. By the 15 June 2010 (the dates of my conference) I want to have a clear idea as to the conversion rate for social media leads as compared with traditional leads. I want to be able to say "OK, I have 1,500 members of my LinkedIn group on social media. I can expect XX% of them to become traditional leads by downloading a brochure or somesuch, and I can expect XX% of them to actually buy a ticket for my conference." If I can do that, I can take a reasonable stab at a (very rough and ready) estimate of the ROI of social media leads.


  1. How effective are emails pushing white paper readers to download the conference brochure? How can I boost this figure?
  2. Should social media simply be a tool for lead generation?

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