This week Adobe released an infographic regarding their advances in measuring social media. As I was reading it, one part really caught my attention: “For many, shopping is inherently social. Online shoppers miss going to the mall with friends, sharing their opinions, and getting a little feedback before making a purchase. By filling this digital gap, Pinterest has become the #2 driver of traffic to retailers in less than a years’ time.”
Wow, Pinterest is really taking off as a valuable social traffic source for eCommerce sites. But for some reason I don’t remember seeing Pinterest listed among my top social media sites. This makes me wonder, are all of my marketing channel reports accurately showing their value?
If you are a big user of the Marketing Channel reports, at some point they will need to be updated. Specifically the social networks channel. Adobe does a good job keeping the list of known search engines pretty accurate across SiteCatalyst, but the same can’t be said about the list of social networks.
If your marketing channel reports were initially activated using the auto-setup option, they included a list of domains that are considered to be social networks by SiteCatalyst. Unfortunately that list does not get automatically updated over time like the list of search engines does, or like the list of domains used to identify the social networks in the traffic sources referrer type report does, and that’s fine. If I have edited the list of social network domains in the marketing channel rule, I don’t want it to be changed by some automatic update. But when using the auto-setup option to enable the marketing channels, for some reason the list of domains used to create the social network channel is considerably different than the list of domains used to identify a social network in the referrer type report.
The SiteCatalyst knowledge base answer #10576 contains a list of 128 different domains that are used in the Referrer Type report to identify social networks. In contrast if you take a look at the marketing channels processing rules to see which domains get pre-defined as social networks, that list is much smaller. Only 51 domains. I even went and enabled the marketing channels reports on a report suite that has never had them before today to check, and I still only saw the 51 domains included in the social network rule.
We can see that the rule to define social networks can accept up to 500 different domains, so why the default list is less than half of what is used for the referrer types report is a great question.
But wait a minute, I don’t remember seeing Pinterest in either of the lists of social networks that was used by the marketing channels reports or the referrer types reports. I decided to double check the reports themselves, so I opened up the referrer type report, broke it down by the referrer report, and in fact Pinterest was there. It is accurately considered to be a social network in the traffic sources reports. That tells me that even though the list of domains used to define a social network in KB answer #10576 was current as of November 2011 as it states, it in fact has been updated since then. Now checking the marketing channels reports manager, I see the rule which defines a social network still contains the original list of 51 domains. The social network marketing channel for my eCommerce sites has been missing out on the credit for all the conversions generated from that valuable Pinterest traffic, as well as any conversion credit from those other 77 domains considered to be social networks that were not included in that channels rule. My marketing channel reports were not providing an accurate representation of my social networks true value.
Whether you’re using the Unified Sources VISTA rule, the Channel Manager s_code.js plugin, the Marketing Channel Manager that’s built into SiteCatalyst, or some other channel identification method, make sure you are keeping it updated regularly to ensure all of your marketing channels are getting all the credit they deserve.