Study Shows Social Media Not Working Well
for Sales or Site Promotion
Search Engine Watch Report Blasts Social Media
as Only 2% of Sales - All other 98%

Search Engines remain the best Web Marekting Tool Social Media & Facebook Only 2% of Sales

SE Watch Says Social Media Over-Hyped
Rarely Works for sales of Products / Services.
Not great for the average small business

As we say at Web-Success---Bad advice and Misinformation regarding site traffic, "SEO" and site promotion is rampant.
(See our page on Getting Fast Traffic ) Once again the Hype from the SEO Lemmings crowd of wishful-thinkers, without much research-- has led many Internet marketers over the cliff to futility.
Many SEO experts and big media have been mostly WRONG.

Search Engine Watch found striking data: Social Media got a BAD GRADE! (along with their touters)

Citing OUTSTANDING Search Engine Watch Article - Let's Stop Hyping Social as the huge product sales tool Messiah.

Two SE Watch Research articles show Social media / community marketing way below expectations. Three SEO expert marketers, some with long experience in social media, discover the ugly secret:

For many businesses, social media doesn't justify big effort and expense.

Details of the Search Engine Watch report show social media having about a 2% or less result on sales as compared to other sources of sales inquiries/ visits and conversions. (over a year later now, not much more)

The report shows detailed charts and graphs proving that:

  • Search Engine Search remains tops for actual sales, and
  • that other sources such as bookmarks, email links (possible referrals) and direct marketing (email publishing) come in second.
That includes email or newsletter promotion as far beyond social.

Compared to all those sources of sales and pre-purchase product research, social media came in a lame 1.8 to 2% (up to 15% for pre- purchase research).
That does not break it down by type of business, of which the prime for social are the dedicated social forum or group-type that uses advanced products and discusses them.

The graphs show little actual web traffic or resulting sales:
"Can-We-Please-Stop-Hyping-Social-as-the-Marketing-Messiah" is the perfect title.

Because the few prime groups suitable for social may get 20-30%, these stats are slghtly skewed, meaning that for average small business, actual figures must be lower than that average approximate 2% of what people find or search for.

Since that average is ALL social media including Facebook, Yahoo, communities/ forums/blog, that would imply Facebook may be slightly higher than 2% for all businesses, but lower for average small businesses and other Social Platforms!

  • For non-Prime groups (special vocal or tech users-type customers), less than 1% of sales might be coming from Facebook.
  • That also means that other Social Platforms, blogs, forums fall BELOW the Leaders like Facebook, meaning likely 1% or lower.
The question becomes "Why bother?"

The strong point made by Search Engine Watch was that most News publishers AND so-called SEO "experts" have been constantly touting and discussing social media in the frenzied manner of a Hyped-up Fad. Is it? The statistics appear to prove that all the sound and fury is much ado about near-nothing. And it proves how monolithic has been media support for a non-existent social panacea.

Once again, MISINFORMATION on the web is rampant: It appears that as usual, in the new wild wild Internet West (no offense West coast), the sellers of snake oil and fake mining claims are plentiful. Because the internet is changing and complex, it is the perfect place to be an authority for wanna-be experts making all kinds of unsupported claims.

That's not the only expert highly experienced in the field saying that. Some others who have tried it for 4 years have said it was all mostly a waste of time and effort (= money). Overall, for average business, social is not only too unpredictable and unreliable … the main problem is--- it typically doesn't work well compared to search.

Now experts besides ourselves show that Facebook and social media look of questionable benefit as marketing tools for many businesses, in the cost/benefit analysis at the present stage. We agree that News media and SEO "HYPE" is ridiculous compared to the results.

Our long same contention now proven out. We said that "conventional wisdom" is seldom right in a new field like internet marketing. Our logical analysis did not support social to the level hyped.

Remember that, like the Wild West, the internet has classic hazards of a new and growing field: It's a growing changing mass of confusion and clutter, where the bulk of so-called experts are often wrong in some ways.

Why are so many SEO "experts" still touting Social media and organic marketing as a panacea for ALL businesses? Simple: No good statistics analysis feedback until lately. And because social media is "Popular" and faddish, it "Must be" cool so seems "the place to be"--- doesn't make it so. "Seems" is not scientific.

We see way too little valuable analysis of results like that offered by Search Engine Watch, long overdue. Facts and analysis beat Opinion. We've been saying that for years. We long predicted the unlikelihood of this being "THE ANSWER" anytime soon.

These results prove what we at have been saying for years now: That "fads" seldom beat proven methods of direct marketing applied to the internet, and conventional marketing aided by an internet presence.
We've long said:

  • Find out what buying method on the web works best (search, direct email, advertising, adjunct, user forum), and
  • "Why not just apply testing of advertising that has been proven to work for 60 years and apply it to Search?"
The answer was not organic marketing by social media.
(except for newsy or viral releases, or certain groups)

For typical businesses, we remain skeptical even of buying ad space on social media, compared to search engine "Sponsored Ads". Even content network ads by Google can have some serious relevancy problems (ie: irrelevant yet expensive, not targeted enough - You don't want curiosity seeker-clickers.) You want a motivated searcher.

Our Buyer's Group Web-Successtm experts long warned not to commit enormous time, effort and money to platforms designed for personal social ladder-climbing and intimate exchanges.

As warned, social media communities are a variation on the not-highly-successful Yahoo "communities" business model, with its trail of oft-disappointed investors and fleeing advertisers.

Why is social media turning out (so far) to NOT be the "end all" for marketing?

For one, it is merely one more "organic marketing" avenue and venue, which generally gives uncertain usually disappointing results. Those areas are CLUTTERED and disorganized compared to narrow search engine searches. As long as people rely on search and ads when they really need something, the top game is Google and Bing, and specialized niche sites and niche directories. Worse, the future will be MORE cluttered. Only the biggest and best at business and at organic can win, and even that unpredictably.

Web-Success experts have pointed out that marketers want certainty. They want a specialist (like a search engine). They don't want to read a lot and wade through social drivel, sometimes faked popularity of nothing but Commercial Businesses masquerading as someone's "Friend". Such insincerity reeks and people can smell it miles away.

Although there are SOME successes, these tend to be with special groups who use certain products in an activity, such as white-tail deer archery hunting. What's entirely lacking in most of the SEO-touted methods is an analysis of distinctions, of what few businesses are really narrow social groups using certain specialized advanced evolving products. Not many.

And if a company is not a leader in such a group, or has management issues, social media can be as much a destroyer as a builder---a two-edged sword.

  • Bad news spreads faster than good news (we said).
  • Also, TIME WASTING spent by management on Social Media and organic promotion can destroy a business.

There appears not much propagation advantage on Google for Facebook listings. People within Facebook have to discover it first, in volume. And there can be name confusion (like other organic clutter). Social visitors are usually not ready to buy.

It seems that Facebook search may not give as good and useful results as Google's, for finding businesses and products, product reviews and comments, user and support information. After all, ultimately Facebook is about People, Faces and personal social interactions. GooglePlus appears to not be able to decide what it is, a little like Yahoo. Google+ mixes social with business in what seems a cluttered way, slightly disorganized way.

SEARCH ENGINES LEAD in Marketing and Sales because they cut straight to the specifics to AVOID the Clutter.

Bottom Line 1: It seems that for most people, social media are almost strictly for personal chit-chat, gossip, rants, giving each other advice, looking at photos, dissing others, and mostly trying to be "social climbers" by "look who likes me!", "aren't we cute?", showing off, etc.. To adults, much of that gets very tiring very quickly, notwithstanding some pleasant exchanges that remain mostly PERSONAL. Who needs a company butting into our conversations?

SE Watch's Nathan Safran cited a prior SEW article by Jay Taylor that got noticed rapidly, saying:
"In the survey mentioned earlier, users showed that they want to use social for, well, socializing, while turning to search universally across all information retrieval scenarios."

We've said that for years. Why go to a thrid tier method for the bulk of promotion?? Companies trying to "horn in" as a close personal social friend is NOT what people who want to get away from COMMERCIALISM want. WHAT does the average business have to do with someone's personal socializing and ladder-climbing? A marketer would have to be extremely tactful, usful and fit in, or else it seems outright invasion of PEOPLE's social domain.

Conversely, SEARCH is on everyone's desktop, HOME PAGE, bookmarked, buttoned, etc.. it is the SPECIALIST People WANT when THEY want to search, shop and buy. How can any marketer justify the new "customization" of media without weighing that, relying on "friends" and "followers"? (Ok it works a little bit- who cares?) We contend that the future is MORE delineation, more organization, more partitioning to meet the needs for identifying the clutter on the internet.

Since search functions work upon TEXT, the pictures aren't seen and social text has no main topic for most people, not about your company, and there are possibilities of actually confusing Google's ability to distinguish and identify exactly WHAT the company is about. Voluminous discussion of off-company-topic, except links to the main site seems of very questionable value.

Some value of a Facebook listing is inbound links, but for what related context keywords - terms?

It seems only if you have 1000(?) follower Friends citing your main site, you might get a little rank kick. But does that happen in any useful time scale when so many other distractions are growing? Clutter growth could make the time required Forever.

Only extreme efforts seem to work at all which over several years can build some interest. A successful company has a white-tail deer hunting and archery Facebook page and their main site, which had a big following among hunters of a certain type who flocked together to talk about that hunting and gear. That special situation can work.

We've stated this before on our site, for years. Our articles cover all of these issues and urge serious business planning, strategy and typically paid or hybrid promotion. It would be a disservice to our clients to urge them toward what is not proven to work well,--- and we'll not be spending any time on it until that 2% goes to well over 10% and product research goes over 20%.

Bottom Line 2: Anyone who has been relying on news media and SEO experts who touted and hyped Social media for organic ranking should call them to task for misleading them without real basis with hype when there were so few results in the statistics? Were you misled?

That strikes us as grossly negligent and damaging by wasted ungrounded time, effort and expenses. It reminds us of similar lessons, that we also can't seem to trust media regarding political candidates and issues. Give us facts and data, not your superficial opinions.

Bottom Line 3: Nothing substitutes for analyzing every single type of buyer, when and where they buy, and where they gather, and then composing and testing excellent headlines, ads and content based on tested appeals.

OUR TAKE-AWAY: Our mantra remains: "Go for hybrid promotion, mostly search, mostly PPC, unless you're target is a highly identifiable conversant social group discussing use of your product and how great you are."


< ------------------------------ HOSTING RATINGS ------------------------------- >

Disclosure: Hosting Ratings are based on support, security, features, speed, reliability, throughput, and overall quality for the price. Price is not the biggest factor when prices are as cheap as they are now. We tested and reviewed the web hosting sites. Hosts must qualify to be listed here. We are a professional review site that receives compensation from some of the companies we review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. This is NOT an endorsement or guarantee of any kind. Any warranty is that of the hosting provider.

Experts' Choice Featured Host of the Month:

COUPON Code "aff15off" for 15% off on all non-premium hosting plans!

IF Click HERE --> Lunarpages Basic Web Hosting --Starting at $4.95/month

LunarPages Offers Reliable Hosting for Small Business
Lunarpages has grown while some other Hosting companies lost position.

Not only does LunarPages have good pricing, but they do not use "choking" at major data traffic peaks like some. After all, that is the goal of good marketing promotion.

Get started building your website in 3 easy steps: (Use  some caution on any site builders)

* Select a website template & add content
* Publish to your web hosting account

Click the banner to find out more
Lunarpages Internet Solutions --->

Go To Top

Approved Site Hosts:

Lunarpages Internet Solutions

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!