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Social Advertising Isn't Really Driving Conversions

Few consumers are making purchases after seeing a social ad

August 29, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce | Social Media

An August 2017 survey from CivicScience, a next-generation consumer and media analytics company, found that very few US internet users have made a purchase based on ads they saw on social platforms, like Facebook or Snapchat.

In fact, just 1% of respondents ages 13 and older said they made a purchase based on a Snapchat ad they saw, and only 4% said they bought anything based on an Instagram ad.

US Internet Users Who Have Made a Purchase Based on an Ad Seen on Social Media, by Platform, Aug 2017 (% of respondents)

Overall, out of the various social networks mentioned, respondents were more likely to buy something based on a Facebook ad they saw compared with other social networks.

But again, social commerce adoption among these respondents was low. For the most part, a large share (45%) reported that they have never purchased anything based on ads they saw from these social media sites. Meanwhile, over a third said they just don’t use social media.

By and large, social networks haven’t cracked the code for social commerce just yet. One main reason? In many cases, consumers aren’t very interested in buying something while they’re on a social platform.

A separate study by CPC Strategy found that over one-quarter of US internet users had made a purchase after clicking on an ad they came across on Facebook. Meanwhile, just 7% of those who didn’t click on an ad completed a purchase as well.

The survey also found that those who did click on a Facebook ad were roughly 3.5 more times likely to buy a product than those who didn’t.

[Editor's Note: The chart has been updated to reflect the survey's methodology.]

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