Social media has done much to connect people around the world as well as connect business with consumers. While few business owners still doubt the possibility of social media marketing, there will always be debate about which platform is the most useful. A recent study from ChannelAdvisor asked retailers in the U.S. and U.K. which social media platforms provided them with the greatest ROI and found that Facebook and Twitter take the top spots.
The ChannelAdvisor 2015 Online Retail Survey is based on data from more than 200 U.S. and U.K. retailers and branded manufacturers. The survey respondents are some of the largest players in their industry. According to a release from ChannelAdvisor, more than a third (37%) of the respondents have annual revenue of $15 million or more exclusively in online sales, and approximately 40 percent of respondents’ total annual revenue from all sales exceeds $29 million.
The study found that retailers in the U.S. and U.K. benefit the most from Facebook. The researchers found that “nearly 90 percent of retailers currently have a presence on Facebook.” More importantly, the data suggests that Facebook creates the most sales conversions for retailers’ products compared to any other social media platform. About one in four (23%) of the retailers surveyed said Facebook provides the most ROI for their company when comparing the performance of various digital marketing channels
When asked to name which social media platform created the most sales conversions for their business, nearly two out of three (64%) business owners responded that Facebook was showed the biggest ROI. This remained steady among U.S. (64%) and U.K. (65%) marketers.
With two-thirds of the pie gone to Facebook, Twitter took the second spot with about one in five (19%) of the survey respondents naming the platform. This result showed more variance when looking across the Atlantic. Fewer respondents in the U.S. (18%) cited Twitter than in the U.K. (20%).
The inverse was true for Instagram. In total, Facebook’s image sharing platform was cited by about a tenth (9%) of the American and British respondents, but the U.S. (10%) was more likely to cite Instagram than those in the U.K. (8%).
The most surprising result came from Pinterest, which was fourth on the list, with only 5 percent of survey respondents saying the popular image sharing platform was the greatest source of revenue. However, a part of this may be related to less use of the platform in the U.K. The platform was much more useful to businesses in the U.S. (7%) than in the U.K. (4%).
While this data certainly paints a good picture for Facebook, the researchers advise against underestimating the potential of other social networks. These results are less about the lack of usefulness of other platforms as it is about the ubiquity of Facebook. The platform has become such a part of everyone’s life that it’s able to achieve more.
“We believe this is largely due to the scale that Facebook has achieved,” said ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo in an email statement to Marketing Land. “When we look at our traffic data, both Facebook and Pinterest traffic converts at about the same rate.”
Another thing to consider is that the other social platforms mentioned in this survey have recently added new features to make their platform more useful for advertisers. It’s only been in the past year that Pinterest and Instagram have added paid promotion options, and Twitter is still trying to ramp up its advertising efforts. These platforms will become more useful to marketers as they continue to improve their paid promotion offerings.
For more recent news about social media marketing, read this article on how social media is influencing consumer shopping decisions.