April 8, 2011, 3:42 PM

Direct traffic from social media sites is low, but its influence counts, a survey says

Less than 1% of web site traffic comes directly from social media.

Allison Enright


Lead Photo

Online marketers should gauge the indirect impacts of their social media efforts rather than rely only on a measurement of direct traffic coming from social media sites, according to a new study from ForeSee Results, a consumer satisfaction research firm.

18% of web site visitors say social media influenced their decision to visit a site, even though they may not have come directly to a web site from social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, the report says. According to the report, less than 1% of all web site visits come directly from a social media web site. 76% of online shoppers say they use social media web sites regularly.

“What this tells us is that traditional clickstream metrics don’t give us a full picture of what value social media efforts are bringing to our business,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.

The company determined its findings by reviewing nearly 300,000 consumer surveys taken at more than 180 web sites, including Drugstore.com and Sears.com. The Social Media Value Benchmark research also shows consumers who report being influenced by social media spend more, are more satisfied and have higher loyalty than those who say they aren’t influenced by social media. Specific metrics detailing these findings were not immediately available.

5% of consumers cited a social network interaction as the primary influence that drove a web site visit, according to a ForeSee Research report released in February that measured the online behavior of shoppers during the winter holiday season. 38% said their familiarity with a brand drove their visit, followed by promotional e-mail (19%), a word-of-mouth recommendation (8%), with  TV, print, radio and web ads, and search engine recommendation, trailing.

Freed says companies can use the Social Media Value Benchmark findings to determine if their social media investments are paying off. “The benchmark provides a way to see whether visitors are more or less influenced by social media than the average, which can provide a fresh perspective on directing social media investments.”

Comments | 1 Response

  • Social lead generation is on the verge of exploding. It's free, it's viral and provides one the highest quality lead gen. in the market place. Eventbrite has done a fantastic job analyzing the value of a social share as reported on their blog. Here's what they found: "Over the past 12 weeks, one share on Facebook equals $2.52, a share on Twitter equals $0.43, a share on LinkedIn equals $0.90, and a share through our ”email friends” application equals $2.34. On an aggregate level across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and our email share tool, each share equals $1.78 in ticket sales. We’re seeing this number improve every week with the most recent four-week average equaling $1.87." According to Addthis, in 2010 Facebook represented 44% of it's sharing volume and the largest growth rate in sharing was via gmail with 1.4 x faster growth than facebook. Accessing your current customers' social networks and email inboxes is where you should be focusing your efforts this year. Your facebook fan page is not enough of a social effort, you need your customers/users to be sharing your content or product directly from you site. Having spent five years in online retail I've since started a new company where we generate social leads through current coupon codes available for merchants. Our embeddable widget presents your customers with offers, but in order to redeem the offer the user is asked to share on their facebook wall or twitter account. This is an entirely new concept and invite you to check us out at justuno.com Good luck with your social endeavors!

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