Instead of going into another post about Facebook and shopping mode, I want to do a post about why Twitter may perform better for ecommerce sales and registrations or sign ups than a site like Facebook. There is no 100% guaranteed reason why one converts better than the other, but if we look at the mindset of users and the purpose of each site we may realize why people can usually get more sales and sign ups from Twitter than from Facebook.
The main reason I am writing this post is that I always end up hearing from Clients something similar to Facebook has more users and fans so lets convert them into sales first or at least start there. Pretty much the same reason why these same companies get ripped off by other Outsourced Affiliate Management Companies or OPMs. (Affiliate Marketing isn’t a numbers game, its a quality and relevance channel. You can have 1,000,000 Affiliates but if only 5 of them are in your niche and only 3 have traffic relevant to you, you now only have 3 Affiliates and may have hurt yourself by launching on multiple networks. It is the OPMs job to find you new and relevant Affiliates, not the Network which is why 1 network is all you ever need. Multiple networks are a turn off for Content sites which are the real value adders, but that is a different post.) Then these same companies and people wonder why their Facebook campaigns didn’t perform as well as their Twitter campaigns. Their original though is that they had more fans on Facebook and spent a bunch of money building that base when Twitter had less followers and less effort put into it. The reality is that they have different purposes and exist for different reasons. These different purposes are possibly the reason why Twitter normally performs better than Facebook. Lets start by going over the purpose of each of the two Social Networks.
What is the purpose of each?
Facebook is a place where you go to communicate and keep up with your friends. You can type in large blocks of information and even interact with them. Facebook offers games, quizzes and tons of apps to distract you from work, keep you entertained on the weekends and to help you kill time when you are bored. Facebook also enables you to include a full message and to get your point across without having to leave the page or Facebook. It is an all in one sharing and communications tool. You can share video, pictures and much more without ever having to leave to go to another site. People go for entertainment and full conversations. This is why they are in Social Mode and not information and shopping mode.
Twitter functions more like a human run search and referral engine. People go to find out what there friends are looking for, which videos they are watching online, what they are shopping for, what blogs or books they are reading, what they are listening to or even to find out what their favorite celebrities are doing. Because Twitter does not allow you to post the actual video or photo and because you are limited to space, people need to include links so that they can get their entire message across. People go to Twitter sort of expecting that they will be leaving the site since you cannot usually share everything you want within the small space you are given. It is sort of like a giant recommendation and referral search engine with real time results. Because people are looking for referrals or are trying to see what their friends are enjoying it may be easier to convert them since the people they trust are already interested or are already doing something.
So why would one of these perform conversion wise better than the other?
Lets talk about the purpose of being on them. You go to Facebook because you are going to spend hours there or at least stay on the site. You go to Twitter for an quicker update on what everyone you follow is doing and may or may not expect to leave to find out what everyone is watching, reading or shopping for. Because one is in play mode and the other is in information mode, the information mode can cause more of a reaction or a click through on your link because they already have an interest and because someone they may trust is recommending it without over sharing. Because the person sharing only gets to give a teaser of what you they are talking about and the end user has to take an action to find out the rest, it may cause more clicks and brings people to your site. Play mode is usually harder to convert than someone who is in information or information seeking mode because in play mode they don’t want to leave what they were doing. You are basically interrupting the reason they went to the site and making their time there less productive or less fun. However, showing your brand during their play mode is a great way to get them to notice your brand (Not always in a positive way though) and to get them to like your fan page so you can remarket back to them again later. You do have to remember that if you are interrupting what they were trying to do you haven’t necessarily spiked their interest or changed them into shopping mode, and you could create a slightly negative or annoying first impression with your brand.
The size of your posts.
Because you can share your entire message, the video or the image on Facebook, there is no reason for the end user to leave Facebook. The people you are sharing with can get everything they need from the same post and respond right there. With Twitter you give them a teaser statement with a link. If the statement is good enough, then the people may click through and can also retweet to their friends once they are on your site. Once the person clicks through the link in your Tweet then they have left Twitter and are now on your website where you can show them your marketing materials as well as your videos and everything else you use to sell. You also get to share a conversation on your site so they can see what other people are saying. You also get to control more of the conversation because you have brought them to your site instead of keeping them on the Social Media site.
Referrals and Conversations.
One major difference between Twitter and Facebook is the amount of space you have to post in. With Facebook you can write your entire message and enable people to talk, respond and have a conversation right there. They don’t have to leave and everyone can see what everyone else is saying. It opens up the topic for everyone to be able to talk and communicate with each other which means they never have to leave. With Twitter, everyone has to either follow each other or someone who has everyone following them and has to Retweet everything everyone has said. You also have to hope that they aren’t following to many people so that the messages stay at the top of their feed and they can keep up. (You could technically use hash tags to follow the conversation.) Most of the time someone will tweet it out with a link to a website and then when people click through they can see your website and jump into the conversation on your site. Because they have to leave to better communicate and have a conversation, you have brought them to your site you now have them on your own playing field which gives you more control.
Not only are they going to build content and copy for you, but they may also start to share the conversation with their friends. If the conversation gets heated or is fun and friendly but worth reading, people like to share it. By having it on your site instead of on a Social site like Facebook you not only get more people coming to you, but if others like it they’ll share your site, not Facebook or Twitter, with their friends since the copy and content are now yours. With Facebook they link to the conversation on Facebook and with Twitter they either link to a hash tag or many times to a link to your site. This is one of the main differences between the two. Twitter can bring the conversation to you which gives you a better shot at converting them since they are on your site while Facebook tries to keep them and the conversation on Facebook.
When trying to figure out why Twitter normally gives a better return than Facebook, I think it is based on the purpose for each one existing and why people are there. Twitter is more for an information seeker. People seeking information are usually more easy to convert into shopping mode because they are already interested in something or trust the people they are following and their recommendations. You also get real time referrals from friends and other people that you trust and you have to leave Twitter to find out more. It is sort of like Google in that way. You don’t go to Google to stay on Google. You go to Google to find information and leave for other sites. Facebook is about fun and being entertained. You stay on Facebook with no intentions of leaving. Ads usually interrupt what the person is trying to do and because they want to finish their games or what they are doing, they probably won’t be as happy to complete a purchase or go through a long sign up process. You are interrupting them when they are trying to do something else. Think about someone interrupting you to sell you something while you are having friends or talking to them and enjoying yourself. You would probably get annoyed. The same thing applies online. It is a great way (even though it interferes) to get your brand in front of people, but also only in front of them on Facebook since they may not leave but only to glance at your site. The other downside is that since they want to stay on Facebook, chances are that even if they do click through they will still only comment and keep the conversation on Facebook and not on your site.
This post was a lot better when I originally wrote it. Unfortunately it got lost so I apologize a head of time for this rewrite. I have no solid data as to why one converts better than the other for many people and these are just guesses. If you feel differently, please feel free to comment below. You can also comment if you agree. I think the reason why Twitter normally performs better than Facebook is based on the reason why people go to those sites and how they can interact while on them. Twitter encourages you to leave for other sites and Facebook encourages users to stay and have the conversation on Facebook. What do you think?