Today, we’ll talk about the influence of social media on e-commerce, and how advertisers can reach social consumers along the path to a sale or conversion. Spoiler alert: Facebook comes out on top in yet another aspect of social media capability.
Brands Should Use More Than Last-Click Attribution
Recently, eMarketer reported on Facebook’s social commerce lead when it comes to the last-click attribution. This means that most purchases made through social media happen on Facebook.
According to eMarketer’s reporting, an Open Influence poll of social media users found that just under 48 percent of them had made their most recent purchases from Facebook. In second place is Instagram with less than 9 percent.
The last-click attribution is an analytics model that gives sale or conversion credit to the last click made. For example, if something is purchased on your website, you probably have some way to tell where that visitor came from (an ad or a keyword search, perhaps). According to Open Influence’s data, if the buyer came from social media, they most likely came from Facebook.
While the last-click attribution model might have value in some cases, it doesn’t necessarily consider the numerous points of influence along the customer’s journey toward a purchase. Especially on social media, influence can come from a range of places, not just that last click.
As eMarketer suggests, there might be a better way for brands to understand how social media contributes to sales and conversions. Multitouch attribution is more complex and difficult to track than last-click attribution, but is also user-centric and granular, using data science to turn real-time data into insights.
It’s when we step back to look at this bigger picture that we see other social media platforms having significant influence on purchases (though Facebook remains a primary influence). For example, eMarketer goes on to mention a ViSenze survey that found both Pinterest and Instagram to have between 10 and 20 percent influence on user purchases.
With this in mind, AdAge reported on Google’s plan to “kill last-click attribution” this past May. The article highlights how measurements other than the last click are better at learning how ad dollars across channels and at different points on the path to purchase.
For more sophisticated insights, Google launched Google Attribution – a product that uses machine learning to help brands:
- See the whole customer journey.
- Measure the impact of individual marketing touch points.
- Take action based on results.
- Quickly get insights from Google Analytics, AdWords and DoubleClick.
According to Google’s attribution help files in AdWords, last-click attributions may be helpful for very direct purchase paths. However, brands that are active on social media may want to consider the wider influences on sales and conversions.
Advertising the Most Popular Purchase Categories on Social
Going back to the eMarketer piece on the Open Influence survey, we learn the top products in social e-commerce: Fashion and apparel make up 32.4 percent of social media purchases, while food and beverage make up 17.9 percent.
Knowing that social media has influence on sales and conversions well beyond the last click, let’s talk about advertising to users in these top-selling categories on social platforms.
First, fashion. Marketing Dive emphasized a major shift from print advertising and other traditional spending to digital channels, including social media. The impact of this will mostly be felt by fashion magazines.
Now that brands can communicate directly with consumers in social media feeds and images (not to mention direct messages!), those publishers will lose dollars, as well as influence. For advertisers, this means partnering with influencers in a new and more niche-sensitive way.
On to food. Marketing Dive told the stories of major food brands encountering new food shopping habits because of the internet and social media. For example, shoppers can research products in the grocery aisles and post their (positive or negative) responses to products anywhere they choose.
Food advertisers must pay attention to not only their own online presence, but also to how social media influences consumer trends and the movements they get behind.
The Independent offered a mouth-watering piece on Instagram, Millennials and food photos. Not only does this generation take a lot of food pictures – they also spend a lot of time browsing them to figure out where to eat and what to order.
If you want Instagram to show your restaurant in the best advertising light, be sure your food (and décor) are up to the challenge of candid photos.
Once again returning to the eMarketer piece (first link in this article), we’re reminded of the budding success of social commerce platforms, such as Facebook’s Marketplace. In November, we explored the potential of Marketplace, and touched on the possibility of advertisements on the platform. For now, ads are being tested in the space, and we’ll have to wait for Marketplace to open for wider ad activity.
It might not be time for you to abandon the last-click attribution completely, but understand that social media can influence your e-commerce far beyond that last click before buying. Especially if you’re in food or fashion, examine the whole social journey for your target audience.