Adobe's Social Media Intelligence report says that brands' social media efforts are paying off.
Retailers' investments in social media are paying off. According to Adobe's Q3 2013 Social Intelligence report, consumers are using social media throughout every stage of the so-called purchasing journey.
On Facebook alone, cost-per-click (CPC) is down 40 percent, while the click-through rate (CTR) is up 275 percent, leading to an increase in ROI of 58 percent.
Pinterest and Twitter are gaining in importance for ecommerce. Adobe Analytics found that, while Facebook still dominates when it comes to referring people to retail sites, those referrals are down 20 percent. Meanwhile, Twitter was up 258 percent, year over year, when it comes to referrals.
"With social growing as a whole, some of these other platforms are starting to take some share even though Facebook is growing along with them," says Joe Martin, senior analyst for the Adobe Digital Index.
The report analyzed paid search, earned social and owned social mentions, and it also looked at year-over-year changes and trends. The data is based on aggregated data from Adobe Analytics customers, comprising more than 130 billion Facebook ad impressions, 1+ billion Facebook posts, some 2.3 billion Facebook comments shares or likes, and more than 400 million unique visitors to other social sites. Adobe says its Analytics application is used by more than 12,000 companies, and it tracks around 60 percent of all ecommerce transactions.
"Pinterest is retail-specific, makes sense that they are referring traffic and also providing better revenue. There may be some niche sites that take over an industry and take that share from Facebook.," Martin says.
Adobe found some good news for Yahoo: Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired is providing the highest sentiment (or positive feedback on a scale of one to 10) among social media sites. In other words, people are using it to say nice things about brands.
Martin thinks this may be because Twitter is often used for customer service questions and complaints. Adobe Analytics works with a third-party provider to track each social mention of a client and score the sentiment based on the words used. Adobe is working on an enhancement to this service that will go beyond "positive," "negative" or "neutral" to include emotion-based reporting. It will be "a little more pinpointed to how a person actually feels," Martin says.
There's more good news for retailers: Consumer are not only engaging more with brands, their engagement growth is outpacing brand messaging. Likes were 87 percent of all social engagements, but growth of comments and shares outpaced that of likes year over year, showing that consumers are willing to do more than simply click a button in response to brand messages. Overall, social engagement is up 115 percent year over year, while brand postings rose only 9 percent in the same period. Each brand post averages 945 likes, 88 shares and 58 comments.
Martin says, "consumers may have more appetite for brand postings, because they are engaging and brands are maybe not posting enough."
Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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