After one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday sales numbers are officially in. According to IBM reports based on all 800 U.S. retail sites, social media pushed only 1% of all online sales on Friday. In other words, just 1% of all online orders on Friday came from users who had just visited a social platform.
Shocked by the low number? Don’t be. As we’ve known for several years, it is difficult for digital professionals to directly measure a return on investment from social media efforts. According to Jay Henderson, the strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce said “Social doesn’t have the ability so far to drive traffic or sales directly to the site. It tends to have more of an indirect influence on purchases.” Of course, most community managers would agree with this statement as the majority of social efforts are designed to build overall brand awareness and keep a business top of mind.
However, there’s no need to be nervous about your company’s social strategy! Instead, understand that users are inherently going to multiple websites when surfing the web, including yours. Just because they aren’t buying immediately after visiting your Facebook page or tweet, doesn’t mean that your messaging didn’t stay top of mind or that a product is not being bought later. In fact, this lack of tracking simply means we need to work on finding a better way to measure the initial engagement with branded materials affecting the future purchase.
The good news is that the most online conversations were about “Black Friday” versus “Thanksgiving Day.” Adobe Digital Index discovered that “Amazon was the most referenced retailer for the two-day period with 450,000 posts, followed by Walmart with 300,000 posts (Mashable).” Both companies experienced a large number of business transactions yesterday, but it’ll be a bit longer until we can figure out what our social media posts and tweets are doing on a more exact scale.
Henderson said, “Our ability to attribute success to the influence of social media will improve over time. As long as you can show the influence that social media is having on the eventual purchase, that should be more than enough too justify the investment that marketers are making in those channels.”
Tell us: Did your brand successfully track purchases and engagement on Friday?