Posted September 5, 2014 4:18 pm by with 3 comments

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If you had to guess (and you do) which social media network drives the most ecommerce conversions, I’d guess that you’d say Facebook. Unless, of course, you’ve already seen this chart from the new “Myth-Busting Social Media Advertising” from AOL Platforms and Convertro.

The answer is (insert drumroll). . . .

YouTube!

But don’t hand over the rose bouquet just yet.

Convertro Social Media FunnelYouTube may have come out on top but it still didn’t make a very good showing with only 14%. Facebook came in second along with the much maligned Google+. How about that?

Now take a look at those long, blue lines. This represents the middle of the shopping funnel. People already have some idea of what they want but they haven’t settled on a particular brand, store or model. This is the. . . I know I want a new TV but should I get a flat screen, HD, big, small, smart, curved, Samsung or Sony, Walmart, Best Buy or somewhere else . . . portion of the game.

Clearly, people are turning to social media for recommendations, answers to questions and a definitive answer to “which is best?”

If you go by size of the line, it would appear that Twitter is king but that’s not really true. All that means is that people spend more time searching for answers than anything else on Twitter. With only a 4% conversion rate and almost non-existent “first” and “only” rate, it’s clearly not the top choice for consumers.

The chart changes drastically when you look only at paid advertising. Twitter becomes the only touchpoint in 30% of the cases and conversions triple.

Coverto Social Conversions PaidWhat’s truly fascinating is what’s happening on the left side of the chart. On Facebook, there’s almost no difference in conversion rate between paid and organic. Paid ads on Pinterest actually convert LESS often than the organic ads. Seriously? Am I reading this wrong? That’s bizarre.

Convertro says that when you look at the whole picture, paid advertising increases social media conversions by 25%. This is where I remind you that this report was paid for by AOL advertising. Not saying it’s not correct, but we need to be clear about these things.

The report’s bottom line is that social media advertising isn’t just about brand recognition – it can actually lead to sales. While that’s true, right now, it’s not leading to the kinds of sales we all need to have to stay in business. Is paid social media advertising the answer? If you’re in the health and beauty biz, it’s a good gamble, for everyone else. . . . we still have a long way to go.

  • I thought Facebook had the best conversion data but this data keeps YouTube over Facebook. Wow! I’ve to rethink my social media strategy then.

  • I think the reason why Twitter is not the best for ecommerce is because it’s a fire hose of information. There are millions of updates going live every second, and unless someone is looking at your stream right then and there how will they see your update?

  • Luis Garcia de la Fuente

    I´ve always wondered why Twitter doesn´t develop much more its search engine. Its a real time advisor for many products. But the article is right: you really need to know what are you looking for before. Same issue with Google by the way.