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12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs.

Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis


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Written by Thomas Baekdal Tuesday, July 19, 2011 Section: analysis
About two weeks ago, Social Commerce provider "Reevoo" came out with a study. It found that if you add
social elements to your site the net effect in sales increase substantially.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
O daa ho ha adding ocial commece conen o a ie inceae ale b 18%, on
aeage. Thi daa i baed on o pane' pefomance aco all of 2010. The 18% inceae
i don o a hge 177% inceae in coneion ae, pl inceae in aeage ode ale and
iio en ae.
Thee i alo a ong poiie coelaion beeen ho long omeone pend on ie and ho
likel he ae o cone. Fo eample, people pending 5 o 7 mine on a ie cone a a
ae of 2.8%, heea people pending 13 o 15 mine cone a he ae of 7.1%.
The alo fond ha, fo podc aboe $320, 90% pend moe han 24 ho eeaching i. B he ae
no pending 24 ho looking a o podc on o ie, he ae onl pending an aeage of i mine.
B hen o ocial media o he mi, he ime on ie goe p o an aeage of 14 mine.
Baicall, ha Reeoo i aing i ha if o add ocial elemen o o ie (like eie, ha people a,
ho i i being haed ec), people ill pend moe ime looking a o podc, and h gie o an
inceae in ale.
The a he meaed and deemined hi a o look a he aeage ime-on-page, compaed o he
nmbe of page ie.
The alo fond ohe hing, like:
39% ill check ih hei fiend on Facebook befoe he b.
B onl 5% ill complee he pchae ihin Facebook.
38% Ue hei mobile o eeach he podc.
87% omeime o ala ead eie.
69% a ha he he eie moe hen bad eie ae inclded.
Noe: Reeoo poide hee ool o eaile, o he d i obiol biaed.
If o foge all he nmbe fo a econd, hi i a e ineeing d. I cleal indicae ha hee i a
poiie coelaion beeen adding ocial o o ie and conincing people o b a podc.
Tie age
Thee i, hoee, one e big poblem ih hi d - and I'm e o analic geek o hee hae
alead poed i. The poblem i "ime-on-page." I i one of he mo neliable meic ha e hae,
impl becae e ae meaing he ong hing.
Almo all analical ool, inclding Google Analic, meae ime-on-page b looking a he daion
beeen page ie. Hee i ho i ok:
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
Time-on-page i calclaed b looking a he ime i ake beeen page load in a ingle eion. In he cae
aboe, page one ha an aeage of 37 econd, page o ha an aeage of 1 mine and 26 econd, and
page hee i "no aailable" becae o don' kno hen omeone leae.
I ge een oe hen people onl ii a ingle page, hich i ofen he cae ih ocial affic. People ee
a link, ead he page, and en o Tie. In ha cae, o analic ill onl ecod hen omeone
aie. I ill no ecod hen he leae, and h o hae no meaemen of ho long he aed on he
In eice like Google Analic, hee "no aailable" ime ae being diplaed a "0-10 econd", and he
el i a ahe dioed meic. Hee i an eample fom hi ie, on hich mo of m affic i ingle-page
ie. A o can ee, 86% of m eade ae (ongl) epoed a onl iiing he ie fo 0-10 econd.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
When you compare this with other services, like Charbeat, you see a very diIIerent picture. You cannot trust
"time-on-site" or "time-on-page." It is some oI the most unreliable metrics that we have.
I reached out to Reevoo to hear how they were measuring time, and pointed out the problems with "time-on-
site". Here is their reply:
Hi Thomas, I've checked with our analytic guys who are aware oI the problem you discuss.
Their answer is that they aim Ior the most accurate measurement possible within these
restrictions, by working out the average time on site Irom average pageviews multiplied by
average time on page, instead oI just the overall time on site. While this requires us to assume
that across all the users we're looking at, the average time on the Iinal page is equivalent to the
average time on other pages, it does at least mean we're counting this page, which wouldn't be
true iI we simply looked at time on site.
While oI course this isn't perIect, it's the best way we've Iound within the imprecision that seems
built in to most analytics.
No, I'm sorry Reevoo, you are not counting the last page. What you are counting is a lot oI zeros, causing
your average to be way oII.
Take a look at this example oI what happens when you compare the real time vs. the ones being reported by
your analytical tool.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
Noe: Yo nmbe ill be diffeen. Thi i j an eample...
A o can ee, boh he oal, aeage and median nmbe ae a off. Een if o hee o ame ha
"na" page hee he ame a he aeage fo he e of hem, ha old ill onl aie he aeage o 1:20.
Wiho he acal ime on page, o eall hae no idea. I i likel ha he oeall ime i highe, b i i alo
likel ha he eal effec i happening on ohe page han ha o migh hink (becae he ae ala he
la page).
Coelaion . Caaion?
In aiical em e ala hae o look a coelaion . caaion. In hi cae, hee i a ong
coelaion ha hen o add ocial elemen o o ie, omehing i happening ha lead o an 18%
inceae in ale.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
The ea ei i ha ha ehig i.
Ree cibe hi "ehig" a iceaed i ie ie. O e ecie ha b addig cia
eee, ee ed e ie eaig ab he dc, ad h ae e ie ed big i.
I i a ice idea, b I d hi ie ha ahig d ih i. Thee a a iceae he ie
ee ed a age. Y ca add a ide h ha ee hae cic hgh. Y ca add a
f ea e. Y ca ae i ad ea .
Ne f ha i ef, deie ha he a iceae he ie--age.
We ha hee i a ceai beee addig cia eee ad he eig cei ae. B I
d hi i i caed b "e ie ed."
I hi i i e ie ha he iceae i ae i caed b he cia eee ief. I i caed becae
ee ca ee ha he ee hi ab he dc. Thi add cedibii. I add iee. I add ,
ad i add a ee f cii.
The ie eee i ee a eaed ide effec. I i he e f he ie i ae ead a cia eie.
The ea ie i' aca iggeig a effec. I i he ia eee.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
B, coldn' o a ha meaing "ime pend" i a efl meic conideing ha i ake longe o engage
ih ocial elemen? Well, e and no.
The poblem i ha he ime elemen i no likel o be he deciding faco.
Conide hi fo a momen. Wha if o cold inceae he ocial effec b 20%, hile deceaing he ime
people hae o pend deciding if he an o b o podc?
One eample. Le a o add ocial eie o o podc page. And o decide o ank hem afe
poplai. Thi i likel o ceae a poiie effec on ale, becae people can no ee ha ohe people
B ha if o decided o inead ank he eie baed on o peonal connecion. Ranking hem o
ha eie b fiend, and ohe people in o ocial cicle, ae lied befoe hoe of ange.
The poplai coe old be loe, b ih a mch onge peonal connecion. People old likel
ead fee eie, h pend le ime on he page, b becae i i no a peonal ecommendaion b a
fiend, o coneion ae old be highe.
I i he diffeence beeen "Hmm... ha do ohe people hink" and "Ahh... m fiend j bogh hi."
Noe: Thi i ho Facebook ok.
The poin hee, of coe, i no ha o hold neceail make i fae. The poin i ha o hold foc
on he ale of he ocial connecion. If ha mean people ill pend moe ime on o ie, hen ha' gea.
If i mean people going o pend le ime, hen ha' gea oo.
The deciding faco i ha o do o die p o coneion ae. Sdie like hi one fom Reeoo ae
e ineeing. I cleal ho ha hee i a coelaion beeen adding ocial elemen and an inceae in
ale - pl i inceae in aeage ode ale and iio en ae.
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
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Reader comments
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Showing 8 comments
I agree that it isn't the time spent on the site that matters, it's how they are spending that time on the
site that matters, or why. Social connections reviews sharing are an excellent recipe Ior sale
conversion but I think what really should be addressed is why more companies are doing this. The
answer is that sites like Facebook have not made it easy to do so on developers. Great article!
Joshua Has
Like Reply 4 months ago
Yup... Iully agree :)
Thomas Baekdal, Writer, Social Media Advocate, Project Manager and Internet Manager
Like Reply 4 months ago in reply to Joshua Hays
I, Ior one, get totally overwhelmed and conIused by all oI these "studies" and I so appreciate you
breaking it down. I agree that there is no question that using social elements and, oI course, this
combined with reviews and recommendations and sharing would lead to greater sales. I'm not sure
why this is still a mystery that needs a "study" to explain it, I guess the new news they were trying to
report was that it results are directly impacted by time on site. However, with your insight that is less
important. To me, what is interesting is that only 5 actually complete their purchase on Facebook
and many companies are setting up shop there. Any thoughts on that? (I'm downloading your book
Kathrn Rose
Like Reply 4 months ago
Thomas Baekdal, Writer, Social Media Advocate, Project Manager and Internet Manager
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
Thank Kahn, Glad i a efl. One big poblem ih ocial analic i ha e don'
hae ool ha meae i diecl. We ala look a omehing ele. Like hen people look
a efee o jdge ocial affic (hich fo Tie i omehing like 10-20 ime off).
Inead of figing o ha make he diffeence, people look a hee mol nelaed a
and hen conclde ha if hi a ie, i m be he cae. I almo nee i :)
...and e, aicle abo Facebook hopping coming (hi eek if eehing goe a planned)
Like Repl 4 monh ago in epl o Kahn Roe
Gea aicle, e inighfl.
The ime on ie ie ha been diced oe and oe in he eb analic ind. I old j like
o make one claificaion egading Google Analic: ime on page i no "he daion beeen page
ie" , i i he daion beeen call o Google Analic. Thoe *can* be e diffeen hing. I i
afe o ame ha ime on page i he daion beeen page ie fo a defal Google Analic
implemenaion, b man ie ae alead ing hing like Een Tacking (hich can be ed o
meae click on JS bon o AJAX ineface) o Tack Social (ack click on ocial icon) o
ohe non-defal call o Google Analic. A companie ge moe adanced in em of Analic,
hei daa ill be moe accae.
A paenhei, fo adanced implemenaion, i i poible o add a dmm een o ebie, ing a
JaaScip fncion, hich ill igge he Google Analic code ee econd. Thi old make
conen ie "ime on page" meic a moe accae.
Daniel Waisberg
Like Repl 4 monh ago 1 Like
Daniel, o make e good poin. One h I e Chabea i becae i "pinging" he a
ee coninall. On ome da, he Chabea ime-on-ie i almo he eac oppoie of
ha GA epo.
Thomas Baekdal, Wie, Social Media Adocae, Pojec Manage and Inene Manage
Like Repl 4 monh ago in epl o Daniel Waibeg
Thank o, Thoma, fo poiding ch a deailed beakdon and dicion of ha ma be going
on hee.
Tim Leighton-Boce
12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
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As Daniel points out, it is possible to obtain much more accurate information about time on page if we
want it. But that would still not provide us with an insight into what the visitor to the site was thinking
at the time (obviousl!) and so the correlation sas nothing about causation.Studies like the one ou
cite are more interesting than the endless flow of surves pumped out b vendor PR departments. But
the still require the kind of thoughtful analsis ou have provided. And the seldom get it.
Like Repl 4 months ago 1 Like
Thanks Tim. One thing I reall miss with analtic tools of toda is a measurement per person
over time. E.g. I'm thinking about buing a new Mac... and I have probabl visited Apple's
website 15 times over the past two months, but still haven't decided. I want to be able to
track that over time.
It is same here on It takes a ver long time to convince people to subscribe to
become Baekdal Plus subscribers - requiring most people to first become loal readers. But I
have no idea how man articles someone read, nor which ones the are, before it triggers
people into subscribing.
I onl have no. of repeat visitors and a path per session (which is often onl one article per
Thomas Baekdal, Writer, Social Media Advocate, Project Manager and Internet Manager
Like Repl 4 months ago in repl to Tim Leighton-Boce
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12/9/11 Social vs. Time vs. Buying (by @baekdal) #analysis
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