The funnel has been used as a model in marketing for a long time. You will often hear of the terms such as “purchase funnel” or “sales funnel” being used to show the different layers of behaviors people go through when making a purchase. This has proven to be a very effective model for internet marketing because it allows you to tailor your sales strategies to people at different stages in the purchase funnel.
In web analytics tools, Google Analytics provides a conversion funnel that allows you to visualize the user behaviors as they traverse through the different paths on your website towards the goal conversion page. This has been a very good visualization tool that has given marketers clear directions on how to improve their web pages.
With the emergence of social media though, marketers have struggled to find the proper ways to calculate such granular details as can be done with Google Analytics. There could be lots of conversations that goes on in these media, but it is very difficult to evaluate the ROI of these conversations towards the final goal conversion, and it is even harder to know how to take action against the variety of responses people one funnel away upsells put on the different social properties.
Especially in 2010, CMO’s realize that “engagement” alone cannot necessarily justify the worth of social media, and there needs to be clear understand of return. This is where the funnel analysis can really help to make more sense out of social media analytics that is otherwise not possible to see. You can use the similar funnel model as in the traditional purchase funnel. The social media channels become various “touch-points” that can potentially turn conversations into leads to your website that can ultimately turn into goal conversions.
The different layers of behaviors in the social media funnel leading to the bottom of the funnel are:
Each of those represent very specific behaviors within the various social media properties on the internet, and the different behaviors can be summarized in order to calculate the flow of the activities at various parts of the social funnel.
For example, subscriptions on Twitter means to “follow”, while on Facebook it means to “Like”. Similarly, engagement on Twitter could mean a “@” reply or a retweet, and on Facebook it is represented by people commenting on the posts or liking specific posts.
Just like how it’s super important to listen closely to the participants on your social networks, it is just as important to listen to how the users traverse through the different paths in the funnel, and analyze whether they are making it all the way to the conversion stage.