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Consider These Metrics When Deciding Where to Invest Your Social Media Resources

Push to embrace new social media platforms for your business, do your best not to split attention and resources.




RARELY A WEEK goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how to boost their sales via social media posts, pages and videos. But the answers I give are often surprising, and here’s why: Most pet business owners are trying to build sales on the wrong platforms. What’s more, they’re often overestimating the typical amount of sales a business gets from social versus channels such as email/newsletters and Google.

So, What Is the Right Platform?

If you’re looking for online sales, the answer is likely Facebook. When considering “daily active users, overall influence on product purchase decisions, and social commerce functionality,” Shopify identifies Facebook as the best social media platform for selling products, in general, today.

But What About the Pet Industry?

My team at ‘cause Digital Marketing has spent the last six years creating and disseminating marketing and communications insights for this industry, specifically. After all, marketing a cat bed to a pet parent differs greatly from marketing a can of Coke to a human (or it should). Recently, we selected 15 pet businesses from our community at random and looked at what was working for them.


Here’s What We Found:

Social media impact often gets overestimated. While social media is usually the marketing strategy pet business owners can most easily sink their teeth into, their combined efforts across all platforms rarely drove more than 20% of their website traffic. If you’re trying to boost online sales, consider investing in your email newsletter and Google rankings. While social media is important, direct traffic (such as from email) and search engine referrals usually doubled and even tripled the impact versus social media for the pet businesses we surveyed. So, if you don’t have an email list or your business isn’t showing up on Google, prioritize that first.

Of the best social channels, Facebook blew all competition out of the water. Facebook was the top social channel driving website traffic to 11 of the 15 pet businesses.

What’s more, the amount of traffic compared to other social platforms was vastly different as well. While Instagram ranked third, fourth or fifth for the majority of the pet businesses, Instagram garnered only 1.6% of the website traffic Facebook did. Instagram can be a wonderful platform for building your brand, but it simply does not equate to online sales for most. It’s possibly more successful at driving in-person visits, but that data was unavailable.

Pinterest influence has grown and still holds a strong second place. In a survey we conducted in 2018, we noted a rise in traffic from Pinterest for pet brands, and this has continued to increase. Four of the 15 brands we recently surveyed had traffic from Pinterest outpace traffic from Facebook. Pinterest drove more than half of the traffic that Facebook did for them, a significant finding when compared to how far Instagram trailed behind. If you have ecommerce for your business, you would do well to consider Pinterest. I would not expect much from it for local in-person sales, though.

With the continuing and seemingly endless push to embrace new social media platforms for your business, do your best not to split attention and resources, especially away from the platforms that have proven to work for small pet businesses like yours.




NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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