Facebook & Social Commerce: Defining and Measuring the Value of a Share

Written by Tom FronczakMarch 24, 2011

Events are social by nature, and the beauty of the promotion business is that getting one person to attend will often ensure he or she brings several friends as well. Thanks to the Internet acting as an accelerant to the word of mouth strategy, businesses no longer need to rely on expensive marketing campaigns as much as in the past. However, with the world communicating through likes and shares on social marketing sites, the new dilemma is putting a price tag on each online interaction.

With even the overall value of Facebook being a vague estimate that quickly fluctuates these days, Evenbrite – an online event registration site that has sold event tickets to over 25 million customers – decided to instead focus on the value of just a single share using data from the millions that have used their site. Here are the results from their 12 week study:

“One share on Facebook equals $2.52, a share on Twitter equals $0.43, a share on LinkedIn equals $0.90, and a share through our “email friends” application equals $2.34. On an aggregate level across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and our email share tool, each share equals $1.78 in ticket sales. We’re seeing this number improve every week with the most recent four-week average equaling $1.87.”

As for Facebook “Like” values, a more recent Eventbrite study lists them at a value of $1.34, while Twitter Tweets are much closer to its competition at a price of $.80.

In the past, sites relied heavily on traffic coming from search engines like Google, where people were constantly discovering sites based on their new and old content. While this is still true, Eventbrite’s top referring site is actually Facebook, with each share link bringing in 11 visits. When including all social network sites that are sharing their links the average total only drops to 7 visits per share.

It’s not surprising to find out Facebook was responsible for almost four times as much sharing activity than Twitter, but part of the reason Facebook is so successful in social commerce actually isn’t due to its massive size. Many people have more contacts on other social networking sites than they do on Facebook, but because the majority of someone’s friends on Facebook are people they actually know in real life, it makes it that much more effective with online sales for offline events.

One part of their findings can be viewed as both a pro and a con: “Sharing is consistent across event size. Sharing occurs at the same rate [if] an event has 10 or 10,000 people.” It’s unfortunate that the ratio of results doesn’t increase as the total pool of event customers increases, but at the same time, consistency is always reassuring for a business looking for rewards with no risks.

The data that surprised me the most was that only 60% of sharing comes from post-purchase order confirmation pages. That means an impressive 40% of sharing occurs on the event page before people even decide if they’re attending or not. I suspect most of that 40% is from those who aren’t sure if they’ll attend, and are just getting a feel for if their friends would join them or not, but I think I may have also underestimated the amount of users who see an event they don’t care about, but are keeping their friends’ interests in mind by spreading the word.

Before taking these numbers as written in stone facts, one last detail is crucial in figuring out how beneficial Facebook marketing can be for your social commerce outlet: your niche subject. Just as in the real world, young adults are arguably the most social target audience on the planet, which is why an event topic can expect more or less results based on the chart below.

It’s worth noting that the bar graph isn’t exclusively representing Facebook data, but the message is still clear: charity and musical events can expect the most dollars per share. It’s also worth noting that the chart comes from Eventbrite’s new study, which shows just how much their estimates have risen in the past six months. 

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