October 26, 2011, 12:00 AM

A personal touch boosts Active.com’s conversion rates

Consumers’ appeals to their Facebook friends boost conversion rates.

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After signing up for a race on Active.com consumers can share news of their participation on Facebook.

With more than 620,000 Likes of its Facebook page, Active.com, an online sports-related community, wanted to leverage those fans to boost participation in the events it manages.

While it posted news about events, such as the University of Louisiana Triathlon, from its Facebook page about six times a day those posts failed to deeply resonate with consumers, says Kristin Carroll, Active.com vice president of marketing. “We thought there was an opportunity to utilize the social graph in a richer way,” she says.

That led Active.com to work with social commerce vendor Sociable Labs. The vendor’s application, ROI-Guided Social Design, which officially launches today, enables consumers who have signed up for an event on Active.com to connect to Facebook via Facebook Connect. After they sign in, they can share news of their participation on Facebook with specific friends—or everyone they are connected to. They can also target specific friends with a challenge to participate, as well as see which of their friends have already signed up.

When given the option to connect with Facebook, 65% of consumers on Active.com do so. The rate is high because they have a strong reason to take that action, says Nisan Gabbay, CEO and founder of Sociable Labs, “People need to feel that there is enough value that they want to engage with it,” he says. “In the case of Active.com, they just registered for a run and they’re eager to get others to join them.”

The conversion rate for consumers’ personalized messages to their friends is roughly 300% higher than calls to action that stem from Active.com's Facebook page. And the conversion rate is 67% higher than Active.com’s e-mail messages, which are not personalized to specific consumers. The reason those consumer-to-consumer Facebook messages are so compelling is that they are personal, says Carroll.

“We know that 33% of those who participate in events and activities sign up to be with their friends and family,” says Carroll. “That’s a big reason it’s important to make it easy to share activities through social media.”

In related news Sociable Labs said today it has raised $7 million in a Series B funding round led by Battery Ventures and Javelin Venture Partners.

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