Can Dark Matter Explain IBM’s Missing Twitter Traffic?

Are you familiar with Dark Matter? No one has seen Dark Matter, but when we measure the speed of galaxies as they move and interact, there seems to be a bunch of mass missing…and the amount missing is roughly 70% of the expected mass in the universe. This unseen “stuff” is influencing everything in the universe and, since we can’t see it, we call it Dark Matter. In the internet’s Social Media universe, some platforms have a pervasive impact, but it’s often difficult to measure that influence directly. So, just like trying to measure Dark Matter, it means that our tools of measurement need to be more sophisticated.

Black Friday Twitter Traffic

IBM dropped a bombshell this week when they reported that 0% of their Black Friday referral traffic came from Twitter. In fact, they showed that their combined social media network referral traffic went from 35% in 2011 to less than 1% this Black Friday. The problem of attributing the source of an e-commerce purchase can make for an advertising budget nightmare. The more complex the social media integration, the more likely you are to lose the ability to track the upstream influence of social media channels on the final purchase decision. Back in the days when the Yellow Page Directory was still a critical advertising player, one my businesses would ask new prospects and clients about their source of information leading to purchase. As the internet grew in popularity, customers would usually say they visited our website, but the reality was that at least 50% of them were getting the website address from the Yellow Page ad. We had to ask more sophisticated questions to get an accurate picture of their complete path.

Tracking Social Media

The ability to track every link, impression, visit and purchase to a referral source has spoiled us somewhat. Businesses used to be accustomed to managing multi-million dollar marketing budgets with far less attribution accuracy. When IBM told us that Social Media provided less than 1% of Black Friday e-commerce purchases last week, that would seem to cast a dark cloud over Social Media. However, just like an “old school” mass marketing campaign, it is not simple to measure Social Media influence with ultimate accuracy. In the end, the final measure will ultimately be whether there is greater sales. Still, there are some amazing FREE attribution tracking tools available from Google that can help track, measure and model your customers’ purchasing path.

Check Back Tomorrow For Attribution Analytics…Part II.

Do we need to build a Super-Conducting Super Collider to Measure The Effect of Social Media?

Read More About IBM’s Social Media Data