Reality Needs To Take A Bigger Picture

Social Media’s Cold, Hard Reality: It Still Doesn’t Drive E-Commerce Sales, IBM Says.


A few big caveats here. For one, IBM is tracking referrals from social networks by the so-called last click, meaning that a shopper has to be navigating directly from a social network to an e-commerce site, with no other visits in between, for the social network to get counted as the referrer.

Our Take

These “studies” do not capture what social is really about. A much better thing to ask is,

“How many shoppers were using social apps as part of the conversation around shopping (e-commerce or brick & mortar)?”

The Black Friday timelines across social media were filled with conversations. Looking at social for a last click traffic or conversion solution is not the best social media strategy. That view does not even contribute to a good conversation in fact.

When companies look at social as a means to participate in a conversation (rather than just sales), things begin to fall into place.

Companies that do this right, realize that they must contribute to social media to stay relevant and interested in their customers. It benefits the company’s bottom line beyond the picture IBM’s last click study paints.

The benefits include user experience feedback, design/product improvements, competitor insight, customer experience cost reductions, brand awareness, and probably a few other areas.

Across a company, social media can have positive effects on product dev, design, QE, QA, marketing, sales, customer support, PR, HR and frankly, any area where user experience and customer experience are important. That means, all areas.

When social is done from a limited perspective or from the wrong side of the coin, we end up with studies that paint a very poor picture of the benefits that social brings to the table.

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