Social Media Marketing Worth the Price for Retailers

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Despite the added difficulties imposed by social media sites in getting their posts seen, Internet Retailers 2015 Social Media 500 says that retailers should still utilize the channel as they are playing an ever more significant role in eCommerce business. Customers are spending more time on social media sites, so it only makes sense that online retailers should make reaching that audience a bigger priority.

By now we’re sure you’ve heard that Facebook and other social media sites are cutting back on free ads and are now using paid ad formats. These paid ads allow online merchants to better target their audiences, so retailers’ social media strategies are looking much different (and more costly) than they did a year ago.

The Boost

According to data released by Internet Retailers 2015 Social Media 500 report, online retailers are putting more focus on their social media marketing, and rightfully so as their efforts are paying off.

Followings and fans on social networks are considerably higher for the Social Media 500 listed retailers this year than they were last year, with their collective number of Facebook Likes improved by 33% in 2014 to over 915 million. Twitter followings grew 26% to 88.6 million, while their Pinterest followers increased 16% to almost 35 million. Even YouTube saw improvements with a whopping 78% more video views for a total of 3.89 billion.

The increased interaction from consumers also helped drive more traffic to online retailers sites, with the average retailer on the list getting 5.77% of their 2014 total site traffic from social networks, up from around 5% the year before. Those visitors coming from social media sites are also purchasing more than in the past, with total social commerce sales reaching $3.30 billion for those on the Social Media 500 list, up by 26% from 2013.

The Kicker

Unfortunately this increased traffic isn’t coming at a discount, as retailers have to spend more to get their ads seen by the right consumers. Facebook shows fewer brand posts to users, a deliberate strategy by the social media network to force online retailers and markers to spend more on ads that will reach the right audience. Only 6.15 % of a brand’s fans saw posts from the page, a large drop from only four months prior. Organic posts will only 25% of a brands fan base on Facebook according to a recent report from Socialbakers.

Because of this drop in organic post views, brands are spending more on paid ads for Facebook with budgets rising by 144% since last year alone.

While the money may seem steep, in this case it seems to definitely be worth it.

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