The challenge amongst retailers has been in transitioning social media from a platform to increase customer engagement to one that drives real sales through e.commerce channels. The return on investment (ROI) for efforts has been difficult to track as a result. As video becomes an increasingly important tool, it is these platforms which are leading the way in helping retailers to better understand their customer base.
TrueView, the most popular advertising service on YouTube, effectively puts a video ad in front of users but allows them to opt-out after 5 seconds. Viewers have exposure to the advertisement, but measuring "retention rates" - the rate of people who stayed with the ad - allows brands to determine what makes an effective advertisement. Calvin Klein's Push Positive ad, featured above, had an over 80% retention rate, and calvinklein.com saw a traffic increase of 30 percent during the run period.
To further support video's growing importance, a joint study between Compete and YouTube indicated that four in 10 consumers visited a store as a direct result of watching a video online. Lisa Green, head of industry for YouTube, told WWD the study also found that viewers tend to be the retailer's most valuable customer - 28 percent spending more than $500 in apparel in the past six months. Only two percent of non-video watchers did the same.
Two breakthrough companies are connecting social media content to actual product sales. Joyus is said to have a conversion rate of three to five times more than the average e-commerce site (which is in the 2 percent). And Olgapic is a platform which connects Instagram pictures - not necessarily taken by a brand - to the actual product pages on an e-comm site. For example a search of #nastygal results in 55,000 images, many of which now link to nastygal.com.
Integrating marketing efforts with e-commerce is where the push in the market is currently. But if you look to Sephora, Nordstrom and Macy's, they're learning to put metrics in place to show relationships between online and offline behaviour. "That's where this stuff gets powerful," Maureen Mullen, from L2 recently told WWD.