Retailers are starting to analyze the key shopping trends from Black Friday and gauge their marketing efforts. According to IBM, Twitter (News - Alert) referred zero percent of its traffic for Black Friday. Before retailers use this information to make a decision to withdraw from Twitter and other social media sites, it is important to consider a few things.
Josh Constine of TechCrunch commented on IBM’s (News - Alert) Black Friday report, saying, “If you factored in downstream visits and conversions, that percentage might not be huge, but I doubt it’s zero.” He also noted that IBM did not disclose the methodology for the study.
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Although retailers are always looking for their return on investment, the reality is that very few people see an ad and make an immediate purchase, which is the only way that social media sites get credited for having had a role in the purchase. Facebook is way ahead of Twitter in terms of proving their worth against Google (News - Alert) in the fight for ad dollars. Facebook has cookie-dropping ads and a self-serve User ID matching system, which lets advertisers know whether or not a shopper saw one of their ads on Facebook (News - Alert) in the past, not just in clicks that led to immediate purchases.
By understanding the way that people actually make purchases, Facebook may start getting some of the credit. It is clear that Twitter needs to implement a system like this before things like IBM’s Black Friday report ruin their potential for attracting advertisers.
For the social media giants, figuring out the equation of how to prove that customers are being influenced by ads through downstream conversion tracking is paramount. Based on the results of the IBM report, if they don’t figure out how to do it quickly, more and more money will be going toward Google Adwords and away from social media sites.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman