YouTube most effective social network at converting customers

Even though Facebook and Twitter might be the priority for a great number of businesses, it seems like YouTube should be given greater attention, especially if you want to convert more customers. A study by AOL Platforms has revealed that the world’s biggest video sharing website is the best performing and most effective social network when it comes to paid advertising, introducing new products to customers and helping consumers make purchasing decisions.

Sales influenced by social media

The report examined facts and figures found within 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions, which took place during the first quarter of 2014. Through Convertro’s attribution technology, social purchase interactions were tracked across various channels to see how each network influenced online sales and at what point they had an impact on the consumer’s final decision.

Jeff Zwelling, CEO and co-founder, Convertro told Venture Beat: “We believe that YouTube does well in both of these important purchase funnel areas for a number of reasons. YouTube’s own search volume and preferential positioning on Google’s results help drive large amounts of traffic, of course. But when you get to YouTube, the content is rich, descriptive, and usually helpful.”

Social media sales funnel

According to the research, there are ‘multiple touch points’ a consumer goes through during a purchase online when social networks are involved.

Being introduced to a product via social media is the first stage or the top of the sales funnel. The middle is where an individual sees re-targeting ads or other marketing material while the final stage is when the consumer decides to search for the product again after being exposed to it multiple times and is now in a position to buy.

However, it is important to note that this is not a linear path, as purchases are made at all stages of the process.

How did each social network perform?

YouTube is not only the strongest network in terms of converting customers in the last stage of a purchasing decision; it is also the best at introducing new products. Facebook and Google+ both achieved 10 per cent conversion rates, but Facebook was better at introducing customers.

Conversely, LinkedIn does well to put goods and services in front of its users, but a mere two per cent choose to make a purchase. Somewhat surprisingly, Twitter is the worst platform overall, especially for product introductions where is it nine times less effective than YouTube.

“Throughout our study, it is clear that social media in general — and Twitter in particular — is much more likely than any other marketing channel to provide the customer with brand awareness and consideration of a product,” Zwelling added.

However, the study is quick to point out that not every customer will follow this path or funnel and there is a big difference between the success of paid and organic promotion. In fact, paid for social messages lead to 25 per cent more conversions than organic activity, which is perhaps the most important message for marketers to take away from this study.

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