Struggling to Convert Social Media Traffic? Try These 4 Advanced CRO Tactics
Converting social media traffic can be frustrating for online retailers. Consumers are spending more time and attention than ever on social channels, but traffic doesn't pay the bills. Converting social followers into paying customers is where the challenge lies.
Why are conversion rates from social lower, and what can you do to change this? We answer these questions below. But first, let's look at some numbers.
Social Media is the Lowest-Converting Channel (and Consumers Are Spending More Time on it)
Social media is more popular than ever. The average user now spends upwards of 2.5 hours daily on social platforms, and the numbers are higher for younger audiences. Gen Z is even using TikTok as a search engine, posing a challenge to Google's dominance.
But if your business is having trouble when it comes to getting social media users to open their wallets, you're not alone:
- Growcode found that Facebook and other social channels have an average conversion rate of 2.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. These channels are the worst performers in Growcode's review of the data.
- According to Kibo's latest benchmark report, conversion rates from social traffic are consistently lower than other channels.
- Ruler Analytics found that social media traffic had the lowest conversion rates for B2C e-commerce, averaging 1.1 percent.
We've summarized the findings from the different studies in the chart below:
Social media has the questionable honor of being the lowest-converting channel in all three comparisons.
Why Social Media Traffic Isn’t Converting, and What You Can Do
There are inherent limitations to converting social media traffic. The main issue is buying intent. People usually scroll through their feeds to unwind, catch up with friends, or discover new interests. They're in a different mindset from people using a search engine to look for a specific product ("new running shoes") or solution to a problem ("knee pain when running"). In the best case, you'll be reaching the right person, but there's no guarantee it will be in the right time.
Another challenge is that people browsing Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok typically prefer to stay on the platform. (The platforms themselves do everything they can to encourage this behavior.) Users aren't super excited about clicking a link and being whisked away to an unfamiliar site. Even when they do click, they’ll often bounce right back to their cozy social media timelines rather than browse your catalog and make a purchase.
These factors are beyond your control, but don’t mean you need to accept abysmal conversion rates as a fact of life. You can buck the trend by tailoring your website to the unique characteristics of social media users.
Here are four conversion rate optimization (CRO) and user acquisition tactics that can help:
1. Provide a consistent user journey between the social media promotion and your website.
Conversions start on social media and end on your website. You want your visitors to have a seamless experience from the moment they click on the link to the moment they complete their purchase.
When you identify that a visitor clicked on a specific promotion, the offer they see on your website should match up with what you've promised them in the social channel. Banners, interstitials or dynamic content can be great placements for personalized offers that match the ad or social promotion that the session originated from. If visitors instantly recognize what they came for, you’ve done well.
2. Personalize your website according to visitor demographics and behavioral signals.
Social media-sourced visitors often have certain characteristics. For example, TikTok users tend to be younger, more tech-savvy, and on mobile devices. Pinterest users might be more oriented towards arts and crafts. Facebook traffic might be an older cohort. These types of attributes can be used for personalization. Dynamically modifying your website’s look and feel to better resonate with visitors will provide a more compelling user experience, increase engagement, and ultimately lead to more sales..
Personalization engines can be a game-changer here. They help you identify the right visitor segments and customize your website automatically, rather than via endless A/B tests. This might include things like altering the layout, showcasing relevant product recommendations, or even tweaking the language to better resonate with your target audience. Basically, you can show each shopper the version of the site that's most likely to engage the segment that they belong to.
This will also allow you to replace generic promotions with individualized incentives. By combining the data you glean about the shopper once they’re on your site (such as the type of device and browser) with the way they behave on your site in real time, you can further personalize the user journey to offer the highest-converting path for each type of shopper. For example, if a user has a coupon extension installed, they might be looking for discounts; if they’re browsing from a lower-end mobile phone, they might be interested in the lower end of your product catalog. Your website should automatically adapt to each visitor's characteristics and browsing behavior, creating a tailored experience for every shopper and maximizing conversion potential.
Not quite ready to dive into full-scale website personalization? Start with smaller elements such as promotions, pop-ups or loyalty programs. Once you start seeing the results, you'll probably want to take it many steps further.
3. Build your mailing list.
Some visitors just aren't ready to convert right away. Maybe they're interested in what you're offering but haven't decided to buy yet. Maybe they're not in a situation where they can enter their credit card details on mobile. One way or the other, the vast majority will leave your site without making a purchase.
Instead of going for the hard sell right off the bat, try focusing on getting your social media visitors to join your mailing list. By capturing their email addresses, you can keep the conversation going and nurture them into loyal customers over time.
For example, try enticing a visitor to sign up to a mailing list in order to access exclusive offers in the future. Helpful content that relates to visitors’ interests can also be a great value-add for email subscribers.
4. Fine-tune your paid acquisition efforts.
Getting more relevant traffic can have a massive impact on conversion rates. You don't have much control over this aspect with organic social; you do have options when it comes to paid ad campaigns, although you still won’t be able to directly target buying intent as you would on search. What you can do is look for audiences that are more likely to convert based on other signals — e.g., their demographics or previous browsing behavior.
Social platforms' native ad tools offer various options to help you experiment and find the right segment for your campaigns. Personalization platforms can help you get there (much) faster by providing insights into the characteristics of your potential customers. Using data points such as coupon usage, review reading, and other intent-indicating actions, you can identify audiences that are more likely to convert without wasting a ton of money on experiments.
If your personalization tools integrate with your ad platforms, you can use these segments as custom audiences that you plug right into your social media campaigns. You should also develop ad creatives that specifically target these users based on what has resonated with them in the past.
In Conclusion: Turn the Tide on Social Media Conversion Rates
Social media platforms present unique challenges when it comes to conversion. However, by understanding the limitations and adjusting your strategies, you can tap into many new potential customers.
By providing a consistent user journey, building your mailing list, personalizing your website, and fine-tuning your paid acquisition efforts, you can turn those casual scrollers into loyal, paying customers. Happy converting!
Adi Schwartz is senior customer success manager at Namogoo, a digital journey continuity platform.
Related story: Want to Drive Business Impact? Focus on Personalizing the User Experience (Not Just Website Performance Metrics)
As an experienced customer success manager with 10 years of customer management experience, I started my career as a consultant and progressed to account management and customer success roles.
My recent specialization in the e-commerce industry includes Ad-tech, affiliates, and partner marketing, with a focus on optimizing the user's journey on site using real-time prediction tools.