Online Retail Yet To ‘Like’ Facebook

According to a recent survey by Forrester Research of over 500 US and European interactive marketing professionals, many brands are failing to harness the full potential of Facebook due to a lack of understanding, resources and measurement. Statistics show that Facebook should be more useful for marketing a brand than even Twitter, with 38% of Facebook users ‘liking’ brands compared with just 5% following a brand on Twitter – but this hasn’t translated into an increase in customers for many businesses.

“Marketers worry about how few fans they have, about how few comments and wall posts they get, and about the ROI of their Facebook spending – and many of them have good reason to worry,” said Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst Nate Elliott.

According to the survey, less than 10 per cent of respondents felt their Facebook page yielded a deeper engagement with their customers.

The problem exists in Australia as well, according to Forrester Research senior analyst Steven Noble, in that most local online retailers did not see Facebook as an effective channel for customer acquisition.

“64% let consumers fan, friend or follow their brands. Of these, just 20% say social networks are currently a top-three source of new customers.”

Despite these concerns, there are some brands generating a thriving F-commerce business in Australia and elsewhere, proving that it is possible to market correctly on Facebook.

Michael Fox, co-founder of online shoe retailer Shoes of Prey says, “we get more sales through Facebook than non-branded organic search keywords.”

The problem can be viewed as a misunderstanding of how Facebook might be used to leverage new customers, with businesses failing to use the platform to develop and maintain a meaningful dialogue with existing customers, which is required before word of mouth begins to take effect.

In the report, Elliot suggests that brands should follow four steps to improve their Facebook marketing. Firstly, set clear objectives and be sure to provide value to your fans. Brands should also make use of the whole Facebook toolkit, as well as ensuring proper Facebook integration into marketing campaigns.

One thought on “Online Retail Yet To ‘Like’ Facebook

  1. Thanks for reporting on this Campbell. The research left me curious. It would be interesting to look at is the value of consumers that come from social media vs. organic search. I’ve heard rumors that consumers who arrive at product pages through social media spend more, but I haven’t seen any solid research yet. Even if Facebook is not a significant source of traffic, is it worth it for the value of that traffic?


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