Social Media Gain in Relevance to Digital Marketers

According to a recent article on the BBC business news website by James Murray, the digital insights manager for Experian Marketing Services, online marketers are struggling to keep up with consumers, who are constantly evolving in terms of their sophistication and discernment. At the same time, companies around the world are tightening their control over advertising spend and demanding more accountability in terms of return on investment (ROI).

Data is becoming ever more important both in terms of planning a marketing campaign and measuring how successful it has been since it provides the visibility marketers need to determine the real ROI of a campaign against any given number of metrics. In March 2012, UK retail websites logged an additional 8.5 million visits through social networks and forums compared to March 2011, implying that today’s shoppers are taking more time over their purchasing decisions – often checking out online forums, blogs and social networks such as Facebook before investing.

Retailers need to be aware that successful online marketing isn’t a simple matter of maintaining a good website but that they must also exert an influence across the entire Internet spectrum. While two in every five visits to online retailers now come from a search engine, other key drivers such as the social media platform Facebook are evolving rapidly in terms of their relevance to online marketing.

The ROI of Facebook investment can be benchmarked against the number of fans that retailers have on their Facebook pages since there is a linear correlation between this and the number of visits to their website. This is due to the viral nature of Facebook, which means that fans will recommend and share content with their network, ultimately helping to drive traffic to the retailer. A recent poll conducted by Experian showed that 5% of consumers have actively sought feedback on a purchase made in store on Facebook or Twitter, while 24% of people would be positively influenced to buy a product after seeing an advert on Facebook.