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Marketers that love nitty-gritty data details that help them squeeze every last percentage point out of that conversion funnel will want to read up on a new study from AOL Platforms.

Using online channel measurement software Convertro, which AOL acquired in June, the study delves deep into the impact of social advertising on consumer behaviour by comparing it to organic social media messages and other online channels often tapped by marketers. The analysis delved into 500 million clicks, 15 million conversions, and 3 billion impressions gathered during the first quarter of 2014. All that adds up to about $1 billion of attributed revenue from marketing for these Convertro customers. Is that sample size big enough for you?


Here’s a few of the findings from the report:

  • Youtube ranked as the strongest social network in the study when it came to introducing new products and driving conversions. It was the first stop on the path to a conversion 18 per cent of the time, and the only stop on the path to conversion 14 per cent of the time. Facebook was second, acting as the first step in the path to purchase 11 percent of the time and the only path to purchase 10 per cent of the time.
  • Considering social media channels as a whole, the conversion rate is just marginally higher than display and comes well behind affiliate, and the most effective conversion channel – plain old email.
  • You can’t make money without spending money, the old adage goes. On social media it appears that spending money will help you make money faster, with a 25 per cent boost to conversions compared to organic social if you pay for those social ads.


Mass data must be viewed with right context

Marketers should definitely consider this sort of data, using it to help determine where budget is best spent. But keep in mind that this is mass data that is collected from across all types of brands and businesses. If you’re in the retail sector, then that will skew what online channels are most effective for you versus a field like travel, for example. Readers of this free study (just hand over your information, of course) will want to pay special attention to the bottom graph, where a breakdown of social media channel by product type is seen.