The ROI of Social Media for Retail Websites

How do you measure the ROI of social media? This is a question that continues to populate blogs, webinars, and conversations between marketers. However, there is not one single answer. The ROI of social media depends greatly on each company’s goals, such as:

  • Increase leads
  • Strengthen relationships with current customers
  • Drive more engaged visitors to company website
  • Increase total number of sales or average order amount
  • Grow the number of website subscribers

There are a vast amount of metrics to measure the success of a social media campaign, but there is still a large amount of speculation about whether social media can have a monetary return on investment. For retail websites, the traffic from social media sites can be analyzed to determine if they are driving visitors who are “ready to shop” or those who are “just here to look”.

RichRelevance, a leading company in personalized e-commerce platforms, completed a study comparing the real traffic to retail websites from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and whether or not the visitors were completed the desired action (i.e. purchasing a given product). They compiled their findings and insights on retail site traffic driven by social media in the infographic below.

Because of the size of the active Facebook community and the available advertising opportunities, it was not surprising that Facebook drives the most traffic to retail websites. It was also not a surprising that Pinterest, while still the “new kid on-the-block”, drove more traffic to retail sites than Twitter, as it is a powerful online marketing tool for retail companies because of its focus on images. Other interesting facts from their research include:

  • Facebook visitors stay on retail sites almost twice as long as Pinterest users
  • The same-session conversion rate for Pinterest visitors has been steadily increasing, while Twitter conversions have remained almost constant and the percentage of Facebook visitor same-session conversions has been decreasing
  • Pinterest users have the highest average order total, more than double that of Twitter and averages almost $75 more than the average order total for Facebook users
  • Pinterest and Facebook almost tied for revenue per session during August 2012, and based on Pinterest’s consistent growth, it is likely that Pinterest may surpass Facebook in the near future

Impact of Social Media on Online Retail Sales Infographic
By Brianna Smith

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