Social Media and Conversion – What’s the Deal?


Finally, you’re on the front page of Digg! You’re server is hopefully prepared to handle the ridiculous amount of traffic it is about to see today. You check back in the next day to see how many new orders you have. Think about the possibilities: 10,000 visitors with your 4% conversion rate. You finally bring up the report…nothing. In fact, your conversion rate is probably lower than usual.

Writing that social media whale that will bring in thousands of visitors to your site is hard. You have to research the hook that will be most successful for your niche, and then successfully market it to get on the front page of Digg, Reddit, Mixx, or other social media sites. Despite the opportunities social media gives you, I still hear the same complaint over and over: the traffic doesn’t convert.

It is easy to understand your conversion concerns with social media. You probably wonder, “what good is all of that traffic if 0.01% of it actually buys something or clicks on one of my ads? I’d rather have my resources used on strategies that will get people to buy more.” But what so many people fail to realize is: social media marketing is not about conversion, it is about links.

The links that you get from a successful social media campaign will help you rank higher for your targeted keywords that will bring in the traffic that actually converts. Don’t expect any of the thousands of visitors you receive from Digg to convert, but you should expect them to link to your site from their blogs and from their websites. These links can easily be enough to take you straight to the first position for your most important keywords. Next thing you know, more and more of your quality traffic is converting.

A great way to filter out all of this non-converting traffic is to setup a filter in your Google Analytics. First, create a new profile so you still have that main profile that shows everything. Next, add a custom filter to get rid of all of the social media traffic coming your way:

Social Media Filter

Now your new profile will display all of the traffic and conversion rates, minus all of the non-converting traffic from social media. See how your traffic from the Search Engines improves, and how it affects your goals. You’ll be amazed at the indirect benefit social media can create for you.


  • It would also be interesting to set up a profile with a filter that ONLY includes traffic from social media. (Digg, StumbleUpon, Sphinn, etc…) Then, you’d have a clean way to see exactly how those visitors interact with your site. Maybe you could optimize your site for the best of both worlds.

  • This is a very interesting perspective. Sometimes this social media traffic is surprisingly strong (our traffic from Stumble Upon has a lower bounce rate than our average traffic, which shocked me). But when it’s surprisingly weak, you make an excellent, excellent point…

    Thanks for the post.


  • Thanks for the comment Jim. I have also seen fascinating results from Stumbleupon traffic (it’s my favorite social media website). I think what makes Stumbleupon traffic convert so well is that the tags you add to it will help bring in more targeted traffic. It is usually much better traffic then Digg.

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