Data from a Forrester research study found that fewer than 1 percent of transactions could be traced back to social links. The report, "The Purchase Path of Online Buyers In 2012,″ analyzed conversion paths on 77,000 orders to determine what sources returned the most revenue, according to marketingland.com.

The research, which was done in partnership with GSI Commerce, a company that handles large scale e-commerce solutions, found that the top-performing sources were direct visits, organic search, paid search and email campaigns. When it came to new customers, direct visits, organic search and paid search made up 20 percent, 16 percent and 11 percent of transactions, respectively. For existing customers, however, direct, email and organic search equaled 20 percent, 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Forrester suggested that the short measurement periods of the study (30 days) and the size of the companies could have been the cause for such low numbers.

The study also found that although most customers viewed social media favorably, many used its more as a discovery tool to learn about products and brands as opposed to making purchases.

Read more about social media.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Jeffrey Summers
    49574067
    Or it could be that social media does NOT drive sales.
  • Kelly Donner
    49535105
    As for direct sales, when a customer get exposed for the first time to the advertiser product or service, maybe, but social media allows exposure on a repeat basis to someone brand, product or service just as a TV ad or commercial. Which has been proven to increase sales. I look at Social Media as a necessary part of the overall promotion package.
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