Woman shopping online on tablet

Social Media & Ecommerce: From Reach to Revenue In 22 Questions

Social commerce: the use of social networks in the support of ecommerce transactions

Fact: ecommerce retailers should measure the return on their social media activity on the exact revenue it generates.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Fiction: everything else.  Especially likes, comments, shares, followers and reach.

In a recent survey by Marketing Week, 31% of online shoppers say they use social media to browse new items to buy.  However, according to Simply Measured’s State of Social Marketing Report 2017, only 19% of brands have revenue as their primary social metric.

The truth is that if you are an ecommerce retailer, you deserve so much more from your social media investment than just engagement.

Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have built their entire business model around bringing you customers and delivering a return on your social media investment.  Social can now track a customer across all devices and platforms in a single view, without any complex customisation.  The platforms have created products to support you at every step of your buyer’s journey – from awareness to consideration and conversion.  They have invented personalised-marketing at scale.

So, if they are measuring their success on the difference social media makes to your bottom line, the question is – are you?

If your answer is ‘not sure’, we have created 22 quick questions you can ask to find out for certain.  If you answer no to any of these, the chances are that you will need to revisit your social strategy sometime soon to ensure it has been created with ecommerce requirements in mind.


  1. Do you have social pixels in place?
  2. Is revenue your primary social media metric? If it is engagement, ask yourself why – when no other marketing activity is measured against this KPI
  3. Are you currently tracking revenue directly from social? To understand the full worth of social in driving online sales, you need to be tracking it directly from the platform, as well as through third party analytics e.g. Google Analytics
  4. Are you currently measuring social media on an attribution window, or last-click only? If you are measuring on a last-click basis, you won’t be getting a true picture of the value of social to your business.
  5. Have you ever tracked how many customers come into store as a result of social activity? Certain ad formats will enable you to measure the volume of customers who have visited a bricks and mortar store after seeing paid social content.

Attribution Models

Which attribution model are you using?

Page Set-Up

  1. Are your pages verified?
  2. Are your Facebook store pages (assuming you have bricks and mortar stores) linked to the overall brand page? Facebook Location Structure allows you to create a parent/child page structure to allow customers to navigate to their local store from the main brand page.
  3. Do you have an Instagram business profile?
  4. Do you use insight from search trends when collating your Pinterest boards, ensuring they are discoverable by users?
  5. Is your website set up to track what content is being pinned from your site? Being able to show customers ‘most pinned content’ can help drive conversions.

Pinterest Pinned Products

Is your ‘most pinned content’ helping to convert?

Revenue Driving

  1. How easy is it to ‘buy’ from your social channels?
    • Is your Instagram feed fully shoppable?
    • Are you using Facebook’s dynamic shop feature?
    • Do all of your posts have a clear call to action? ‘Learn more’ is rarely the most effective option for an ecommerce retailer
  2. Do you retarget ‘abandoned baskets’ on social?

Is your Instagram feed shoppable?

Data Management

  1. Do you segment your audiences to ensure highly relevant product targeting?
  2. Do you retarget lapsed customers on social?
  3. Have you ever created look-a-like audiences of a customer segmentation?
  4. Do you use lifetime value customer data to find new audiences?
  5. Do you ever use social to drive data capture?

 Facebook Lookalike audience

Are you using Lookalike Audiences to their full effect?

Test and Learn

  1. Do you have a test and learn plan?
  2. Do you test audiences’ responses to your content?
  3. Have you ever run a Facebook Conversion Lift study to understand the true effect of your campaign?
  4. Have you ever used social to test audience response to above-the-line creatives before launching to the general public?
  5. Have you tested a wide range of advertising formats to see which delivers the best ROI for your business?


In short, direct revenue from social is the new (and greatly improved) reach.

Shoppers who are fans of brands on social are 51% more likely to buy (annexcloud.com) – meaning ecommerce marketers need to view social media as both a brand and direct response platform.

Yes, social needs to be your window to the world, but it needs to drive sales too.

Even now, we still see sponsored Instagram posts, with no clear route to purchase.  Every product on every one of your Instagram post can be individually shoppable.  This is great for the user, but even better for you.

So, if your social media isn’t making a direct difference to your bottom line, perhaps it’s time it did?

The author: Jane Ainsworth is managing director of WPR. She has over 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering communications strategies for consumer brands including Dunelm, Tesco, Mothercare, Greene King, John Lewis, Bullring, Beaverbrooks and Westfield.