Today, more and more retailers are integrating social features into their ecommerce sites to create a more personalized shopping experience and drive increased referral traffic and sales. A common question we hear from retailers considering Facebook Connect and Facebook Timeline applications is “what is the benefit of a ‘Facebook-Connected’ user?” And, specifically, “is there on-going value created by a Facebook-Connected user?”
To answer this, we launched a study to measure the click-through rates and share rates of shoppers who were presented with a range of social sharing applications on retailer websites. Our study found that returning Facebook-Connected users click on social applications and share content with their friends 9 times more often than non-Connected shoppers. We certainly expected a higher propensity for sharing for Connected users, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this difference.
What does it mean to be a Facebook-Connected user?
When online shoppers “connect” to ecommerce sites using Facebook Connect, they grant retailers access to information about themselves, such as lists of their friends, likes, and interests. This information then allows retailers to offer social applications and more personalized shopping experiences. There are two paths to becoming a Facebook-Connected user. First, a shopper can login through a social login alternative, such as the “Login with Facebook” button. This method gives the shopper a convenient way to login to a retailer site and also converts them to a Facebook-Connected user. Second, a shopper can click on the call-to-action (CTA) for a social feature that requires information from the shopper’s Facebook account.
To measure the benefit of Facebook-Connected users, we grouped users into two buckets based on Facebook login status: (1) users who are logged in with Facebook Connect and (2) users who are not. (As mentioned in a prior blog post, the login status is pulled directly from Facebook through an API called FB.getLoginStatus()). We then analyzed the rate at which individuals in these two groups (1) clicked on the main call-to-action, and then (2) shared content with their friends on Facebook.
The total data set is comprised of over 1.35 million CTA clicks on 42 different social sharing applications that occurred between October 2010 and January 2012.
This study yielded two important learnings for us:
1) Facebook Connected users are 9 times more likely to engage with on-site social sharing features (i.e. click on a call-to-action button for a social sharing application).
2) Facebook Connected users are also 9 times more likely to complete the sharing process and send product/offer content to their friends on Facebook.
Based on our results, Facebook Connected users provide significant on-going value to retailers, as these users continue to engage and share at very high rates on return visits. Given this fact, the natural conclusion is that retailers should find engaging social experiences that motivate shoppers to connect, driving significantly higher LTV through on-going new customer referrals.
Beyond adding Like buttons and other social sharing features, you should consider adding a social login alternative to your site. Plus, consider adding the number “Facebook Connected Users” as a key performance indicator for your social strategy.
With those takeaways in mind, we’re going to get back to building engaging social features that will help you maximize these metrics!