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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 26, 2011

How social is impacting commerce, search

Through a recent social referral campaign, Folica finds that social sharing is having a big impact on online conversion rates. Their research shows people who clicked on friend's social links/posts made purchases 16% of the time; normal conversion rates for incoming traffic is 3%.

by Kristina Knight

The Folica program is powered by Extole's Social Referral Marketing Platform. The platform allows brands to run social referral/engagement campaigns across multiple channels or platforms. I recently chatted with Greg Brown about the platform and trends in social commerce.

Kristina: What was most surprising about the Folica results?

Greg Brown, Chief Revenue Officer, Extole: The Folica results continue to show the power of engaging a brands own consumers via their website, email and other social platforms to convert new customers and business as a result of social referrals. The Folica program generated an impressive 16% conversion rate for consumers clicking on a friend's link or social post and then went on to make a purchase. This is a 433% increase in conversion to purchase compared to normal incoming web traffic.

Kristina: What trends are you spotting in the social media space currently? Are you expecting anything to change in these trends as we move into the holiday season?

Greg: I think one of the biggest trends just emerging in the social media space is the effect that social signals are beginning to have on search results. Social media is all about connecting your social graph with your opinions and experiences which include the brands you use. The other big trend is moving beyond social for the sake of social and moving to the ability to track analytics around these social behaviors including the effect on sales.

Kristina: Group couponing continues to be a shining beacon for some retailers, but the return seems to be more of a one-off and not a continued buying cycle. What can brands do to better the chances that a consumer will use a group coupon/buying 'deal' and then keep coming back for more?

Greg: Fundamentally a coupon may get a new consumer into a store. What will keep the consumer coming back is a great product or service as well as the influence that their peers have in recommending the retailer. I think brands and platforms can do a better job fostering and inviting consumers to refer their friends and share their experiences to improve repeat purchases.

Kristina: Do brands need to integrate their social profiles within their websites?

Greg: Our data shows us that a brands own website can generate more social referral and social sales activity than the brands profile on leading social networks. The brands website is a well-established trafficked channel and consumers continue to show the willingness to take a brand into their social graph from this channel.

Tags: ecommerce, Extole, Folica, social commerce, social marketing, social sharing

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