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How Online Retailers Can Increase Conversions via Social Media Advertising

This is a guest post by Conor Ryan, Co-founder at StitcherAds.

Brand exposure and awareness are important. But the bottom line for ecommerce marketing is that the link to consumer purchase needs to be clear, direct and fast. So how can online retailers increase conversions via social media? We’ve put together 5 top tips for increasing conversion via social media advertising:

1. Attribution & Measuring

Last Click is dead. Last click remains dead. And we (consumers) have killed it. As an absolute form of measurement, last click is no longer viable because we now know a shopper’s journey involves many touch points over a period of time.

As consumers move from device to device, legacy attribution models become unreliable. Identity is the best way forward for measuring attribution and social media owns identity. For example, placing Facebook’s tracking code on your website will accurately track an individual’s interaction with your ads across devices all the way through to conversion.

Tip: Use native social media tracking capabilities to measure conversions by identity. Set the attribution window to capture a shopper’s journey to purchase over a period of time.

2. Micro Targeting

Social networks provide detailed consumer data that can be leveraged for granular targeting. Details such as age, devices, gender, geographical location, interests, etc. should be used to place the right offer in front of the right person at the right time. Creating a single ad and spraying it broadly doesn’t make sense anymore.

The more granular you target your ads, the more control you have over ads that perform and those that don’t. Being able to quickly identify non-performing, micro target segments means you can quickly stop the loss and retain budget for top performing micro segments.

Tip: Identify your target audience from existing customers—their age, interests, gender, etc.—and create individual ads that target each of these micro segments.

3. Similar Audiences

Once you’ve identified your existing customers, you can begin to target similar people. Facebook and Twitter both have targeting options for people with profiles similar to others. Putting the effort into identifying and segmenting your existing customers on these social platforms will pay off in acquiring new customers, as you can create similar audiences to target.

By targeting similar people to existing customers, you increase the likelihood of conversion. With Facebook, you can even create web custom audiences based on specific pages or categories people visit on your website. These audiences can be used to create further Lookalike audiences.

Tip: Create Lookalike Audiences on Facebook by uploading existing customer lists and by tracking consumer behavior on your website.

4. Product Level Retargeting

Building on the first three points, we arrive at a tactic, which will drastically increase conversions. Armed with knowledge about your customer lifecycle, you should set the timeframe for retargeting consumers accordingly. For example, if you know that it typically takes a customer 7 days to make a purchase decision then your retargeting ads should be set for that duration. It is also critical to retarget across all devices including mobile phone and tablet. Facebook will automatically frequency cap the number of times an individual sees an ad in their newsfeed across devices over this time period.

Tip: Setup Facebook Website Custom Audiences (WCA) to capture people viewing, adding to basket and purchasing products. Give the WCAs retention periods consistent with your customer lifecycle. Finally, use these WCAs for retargeting campaigns, remembering to negatively target the consumers who actually bought the product.

5. Stop Thinking ‘Social Network’

Finally, stop thinking about these channels only as ‘social networks’ and start thinking of them as the most effective direct response marketing channels available to retailers. This is especially true for mobile devices. Comscore recently reported that ‘Mobile commerce in the US grew by 47% in Q2 2014, boosted by increased usage of tablets and bucking a seasonal trend for slower rates of growth during the second quarter.’

Social media has created a new world, where early movers are already streets ahead. New, online pure-play retailers thinking this way are putting incumbents under serious pressure—and they started from scratch!

Tip: Starting thinking of social as the perfect channel for direct response marketing.

Conor Ryan | Guest Author

Conor Ryan is Co-Founder at StitcherAds, where he helps online retailers scale their Facebook campaigns to acquire more customers. Conor has extensive experience in Facebook advertising technology and product innovation.

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