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If you are wondering about the benefits of all of the social media posts, and PPC ads you have been running, you will be interested in the report released this week by market research company Mintel. While the headline is that they forecast ad spending in Social Media will surpass $11 billion by 2017, it was the other data that I found more interesting and concrete:

  • 40% of Social Media users were influenced by social when making purchasing decisions.

  • the 18-34 cohort (Millenials/Gen Y) is the most likely to use Social Media to guide purchase decisions.

  • 21% of men in that cohort report purchasing a product by clicking on a social ad.

  • 79% of all respondents have viewed or shared content from a company or visited a companies Social Media page.

Those are all decent statistics and confirm that your social strategy is going to show results.  "Influence" is tough to measure though so what about clicks?  The click picture is a little less rosy.  For all survey respondents only 9% reported making a purchase after clicking a social ad.  What is interesting is that a further 11% of respondents said they made a purchase of a product they saw advertised without clicking the ad.  So consumers are getting smarter.  They see your ad and it registers.  Later they Google it or enter the URL directly in their browser.  This is frustrating because this is much harder to measure and sell to your boss when looking for social marketing or social PPC budgets.

It is important to understand where your social strategy falls into the shoppers conversion funnel.  With almost 80% of respondents engaging with companies and brands on social, we know that social works to keep you top of mind for your target market.  It is important to develop relationships at the very top of the conversion process to generate awareness and create those relationships so you are part of the decision set when people are shopping.  I don't go to social media when I am shopping.  People are just not that random.  When I am on social I do check out useful or entertaining links shared by my friends and companies I follow, I notice where friends are checking in, how great the food looks on instagram, what movies they have seen, what music they like, what books they are raving about, what bikes they are riding, the new car they got, and where they are going on holidays.  All of these influence where I go, what I buy, and where I look when I start to shop.

So don't panic if you have low clicks and conversions on social.  Go for engagement and the long game.

[Note:  I'd love to know if the social ads that converted that 9% were remarketing ads.  I have to admit to seeing a good price on something I had been looking at earlier and making a purchase at least once that I recall.  And I am a long way from being a Millenial!)


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