Podcast: Social Media and ROI with Dennis Yu

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In this episode of Landing Page Optimization, SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash and BlitzMetrics CEO Dennis Yu discuss the relationship between social media and conversion rates, direct and indirect conversion lifts from Facebook, and measuring the impact of social networks on other channels.

You Don’t Get Married on the First Date

Tim opens the discussion by addressing that a lot of hardcore “conversion” types don’t believe in social media as a conversion channel, and Dennis loves this as there will be “less competition.” The two then tackle how Facebook gets into the conversion mix - it’s all about the light touches on the way to the sale.

Most people may not click on the ads at the right, but they get exposed to content on Facebook. And when a target group is more exposed to messaging on Facebook, they are more likely to open an email. Or make a purchase further down. It’s not about the direct sale on Facebook, and it’s not about trying to get married on the first date - it’s about boosting the efficiency of your other conversion channels.

Measure Facebook Using Your Existing Tools

Dennis notes that when you market for consumer packaged goods like fries, then top of funnel exposure may work for you on social. But if you are the SEO, PPC, or cost-per-conversion type, you need more accountability than this - and the way to measure conversions is to look at your existing tools.

If you upload your email list on Facebook via Custom Audience, what Facebook will do is tell you how many matches you have. You can then have a test group whose emails you have uploaded on Facebook, and a control group whose emails you have not. From there, you can choose a target metric - email open rates, phone calls, sales - as long as you can tie it to the email.

For the group whose email you uploaded, you nurture them for a set period of time - expose them to normal Facebook content you publish, or run campaigns. Then you use your existing tools to track the difference in behavior:

  • You use your existing CRM to see the difference between email open rates for the Facebook-exposed group 
  • You use Google Analytics to see if the group exposed to Facebook convert better on the site

The split test provides for accountability, but on the tools you already have.

Social is a Lot Like Retargeting

Dennis notes that when there’s an ad for a hamburger and the focus is on a discount, it holds no weight. When the ad describes the hamburger as being the best, it holds no weight. But when someone in your circle likes the hamburger - participates in a discussion about, comments on meeting someone there- then the ad suddenly borrows trust. Tim notes that the social proof principle from Cialdini applies here, and Facebook allows for tools to “leverage” existing trust.

Tim and Dennis discuss the other set of advantages Facebook has - context. Search marketers are used to turning a few knobs - keyword, time of day, and the like - but tying Facebook to other channels allows for deeper targeting. It allows marketers to go after the middle of the funnel, to target people who have already raised their hands. And marketers will know whether they match an existing email in the company database, along with the profile information Facebook allows marketers to query against.

Direct and Indirect Conversion Lifts

Dennis organizes Facebook lifts into four buckets, two from direct, two from indirect:


  1. People coming in from a coupon or offer, and can be tracked from the number
  2. Visitors jumping to the other channels such as the web site from Facebook


  1. Split tests from uploaded email into other channels, as discussed
  2. Split tests by variable (zip codes, store locations)

Dennis notes that direct lifts are usually low on Facebook - it’s the indirect lifts that make the channel shine, so someone who manages the company’s Facebook efforts really should understand other channels like email. 

First Air Date: September 16, 2013

Listen online or download the podcast from WebmasterRadio.fm

Learn more about measuring social media ROI. Dennis Yu is speaking at the Conversion Conference in Boston which begins on September 30. If you haven't yet, check out the agenda and register for the event here