According to a new report from ForeSee Results, fewer than 1% of website visits came directly from a social media URL.
Their report also says that 18% of site visitors reported being influenced by social media, which would mean that 17% of those folks visited the site in some way other than clicking on a social media link. This plays into the idea that social media is best used for brand awareness, but still, 18% isn’t that great.
In yet another attempt to measure social media ROI, ForeSee developed their “Social Media Value Benchmark,” which ranks web visitors based on how the customer came to the site, how much they spent, how they felt about the experience and whether they’re likely to return.
ForeSee’s initial results, after surveying nearly 300,000 consumers, is that people who were influenced by social media spend more and are more satisfied and loyal customers than those who aren’t influenced by social media.
This is all well and good until you go back to the top and the stat that says only 18% of visitors were influenced by social media and only 1% came in on a direct link.
Even if those customers spend more money than the average customer, is that worth the time and effort invested in social media? Could be, is the wishy-washy answer. Many small business users see social media as a “free” source of marketing. That’s true and false. It may not cost you a monthly fee but it costs you time and time is money, right?
ForeSee admits that some companies pull in as much as 5% of their customers from social media, but email is known to influence 32% of customers. Hmm. . maybe it’s time to go back to basics?
The bottom line is that there isn’t a clear answer. Sorry. But that doesn’t mean this report and others like it aren’t useful. They are if they make you think.
Here’s the takeaway I want you to get from all of this. Remember when your mother used to say, “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?” Well, listen to her. Just because Facebook works for a ticket company doesn’t mean it will work for a lingerie store. Email may work for a company with an older customer base but if you’re after teens, mobile is going to knock email out of the water.
Think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Figure out metrics that define your success, then go from there. It won’t matter if only 1% of people follow your link from Facebook to your website, if you can sell them that music download from Facebook itself.
ETA: Because you asked, here is more information about how the study was conducted.
The Social Media Value Benchmark includes nearly 300,000 completed consumer surveys on more than 180 websites across a dozen private and public sector industries, including websites for Department of Defense, Drugstore.com, General Mills, ESPN, Express, Kellogg’s, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ticketmaster, Sears, and Suntrust, among others.