Social Media Leads To Email And Search Conversion Path


Email and search marketers might feel as if they have an uphill climb to influence new customers and secure old, but a recent study suggests the two online media have become the most effective online tools to drive sales.

The Forrester Research report -- The Purchase Path of Online Buying in 2012 -- in collaboration with GSI Commerce Spring Attribution Research, identifies the Web as a powerful tool for consumers looking for brands, products and services by typing words into a search box or speaking them aloud.

The report suggests that new buyers are "heavily influenced by paid search," more so than repeat customers. In fact, Forrester cites search as the single most important tactic for finding new customers. While 7% of new consumers typically type in a URL to find a site, 6% use a search engine followed by one other tactic or paid-search ad followed by one other tactic. Overall, 39% of transactions by new customers begin with clicks from paid or organic search results.

Search attracts new customers, but email works best for repeat customers, according to the report. About 4% of new consumers are influenced by an email and use one other tactic to find the product, compared with 17% of repeat customers using email and one other tactic. Some 30% of transactions by repeat shoppers start with a click on an email from retailers.

Direct traffic remains critical to sales. So, while search and email drive conversions, social media works best to bring awareness to brands, products, and services. The Forrester report identifies a disconnect between the conversion and the influence from highly top-of-the-funnel tactics that require more time.

Some social sites work better than others to move consumers through the purchase path. Pinterest users spend fewer dollars on travel than the average Internet user, but for apparel and home categories they spend more, according to the comScore State of the Internet in the U.S. 2012 report released Wednesday.

Images on Pinterest related to the Home and Living category influence consumers most, 25%, compared with other social sites at 24%. Apparel and Accessories follow with 17%, companies with other social sites across the Internet.

3 comments about "Social Media Leads To Email And Search Conversion Path".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, September 27, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

    Thanks for this article. It is in line with the trends we've observed at our firm and reported back to clients - that social venues are a prime source for learning about brands and product lines, since these approximate conversations among friends and people with similar interests. Email and search reinforce this among interested consumers along the way to purchase. Marketers should continuously work all these touchpoints to achieve maximum results.

    Henry Blaufox, DragonSearch

  2. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, September 27, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.

    Great post and valuable info for marketers. Search and email will be most effective direct marketing channels for a long time to come, but thanks for outlining the value of social in amplifying a message and building/driving awareness. Social done right, with content production in mind, will also dramatically impact organic SEO.

  3. Eric Steckel from Turnpike Digital, September 27, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.

    The Forrester Research stats further highlight the importance of all of these tactics working together. Folks who read these pages know that e-mail marketing as medium is still quite vital, but many claim that it's a dying form. This research and the claims here would state otherwise. Thanks for sharing.

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