Confessions from Top Industry Experts: Do Instagram & Snapchat Actually Convert?

Kate Lobel
By Kate Lobel

What channel actually converts for me and how do I keep it converting? This is the golden question for marketers on a quest to find the perfect path that leads to the greatest return.

What many industry experts often conclude is that top of the funnel brand awareness channels like social media, do not convert right way and shouldn’t have goals regarding lead generation or bringing in the dough. They’ve decided social media is a first touch point only. What many professionals believe is that these brand awareness channels act strictly as an assist, but don’t actually convert right away.

Related: Which Social Platforms Should My Brand Be On?

In many instances, yes, channels like social media and public relations do act as an assist or starting point for many customers during their purchase journey. But what marketers often overlook is the fact that these channels can actually convert right away, many marketers just don’t know how to identify if they converted and where to find the analytics.

We connected with a few fellow marketing pros to ask them their thoughts on whether Instagram and Snapchat actually convert as a channel.

Here’s what they thought:

Flynn Zaiger, CEO Of Online Optimism Thinks That:  

“As with any smart marketing strategy, investing your time and effort into Snapchat or Instagram should start with a simple question – will this reasonably lead to my goals? There’s a couple things to consider: Is your audience on these networks (i.e. are they mostly below 35 for Instagram, or 25 for Snapchat)? Can I quickly grow my following enough to make an impact, either through a viral campaign, working with influencers, or paid means? Will the actual conversion factor, whether it be a new customer or amplified reach, be worth it?

Related: Are My Target Customers on Social Media?

Honestly, for most small businesses who are fighting for each sale, the answer is typically no (apparel and particularly female-targeting businesses are the exception to this rule). It doesn’t deliver at the rate that a Facebook campaign would, even in 2017. But if you’re working with larger brands, or growing organizations that have awareness in the teen / younger millennial age range as their main goal, then you’d be crazy to be ignoring Snapchat or Instagram. Even a 10 second disappearing ad can leave lasting impressions.” Twitter – @FlynnZaiger

Andrew D’Amours, Co-Founder At Fly Trippers Thinks That:

“The ROI timeframe is just much much longer for Instagram. My online flight deal finder was launched in January and since then we were able to gain 30K followers on Facebook, and now a majority of our sales and traffic comes from Facebook, even after a short time. However, Instagram has not been converting at all yet, and I think it’s simply because the platform’s concept doesn’t do justice to something that isn’t an easily understandable product.

Related: 4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do on Facebook

A service or higher-ticket item will not be easily described on those channels and therefore their primary purpose is more to inspire customers in a more general way, to keep a connection with them, but that means the conversion rate is much much lower. It’s an investment in branding more than actual sales.”  Twitter – @AndrewDamours

Social Media Content Calendar Template

Teana McDonald, Founder Of 3E Connections Thinks That:

“Snapchat is a great tool to capture a brand’s beliefs, culture and vibe. It gives people an inside look on what goes on behind the brand and who the people are. There has been some success for larger brands and celebs on Snapchat. However, for a small business to convert those followers into customers the commitment is longer and greater (from our experience) internally and externally.

 Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Snapchat

We’ve had success with Instagram and converting followers into clients as well as gaining sales leads for our team. We’ve also experienced success for our clients. As a small business it’s important to understand where your potential customers hangout to ensure that you leverage those platforms. You can’t be everything to everyone.”

Marvin Beckmann From The ROI Factory Thinks That:

“Yes, It is true. Snapchat and Instagram convert. The most important thing when working with those channels is to be sure about your target audience. On both channels influencer posts are converting very good, due to the high relevancy to the audience (when choosing the right influencer).

 Related: How to Develop an Influencer Outreach Strategy That Converts

Special offers on Snapchat have the great side effect, that a Snap is only visible for a short time, so people will visit your offer-page because of their fear of missing out.”

Trinity Manning, CEO Of OnceLogix Thinks That:

“We all know that Social media is the GO TO TOOL to connect with people when you’re selling a product or service. Social media ROI is one of the most heavily debated topics in the online marketing world. Why? Because measuring the effectiveness of social media marketing efforts isn’t as clear cut as, say, running a Google AdWords campaign.

It’s hard to tell how much revenue a Tweet you sent out last week brought in, or if your last Instagram post boosted your bottom line. It all depends on your goals and objectives. For us at OnceLogix, we’re able to connect with consumers in our very niche field of mental health software and gain new insights and perspectives.”

Lauren Dailey, Owner Of Bohemian By The Bay Thinks That:“As to whether Insta Stories converts- yes, it does. But you have to have a business profile, which I have yet to fully commit to just because I hear horror stories with engagement.

Related: How Can Instagram Stories Benefit Your Brand?

Once you have a business profile, though, you can use affiliate links and the “Swipe Up” feature so your followers can directly shop from there! Insta Stories is a great way to have your followers get a window into your life!”

Makenna Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator At Power Digital Marketing Thinks That:

“Snapchat seems to be more of a brand exposure and awareness play. Instagram does actually convert through the custom UTMs because you can see the new users that are visiting the site and any conversions that are made within that 24 hours. However, that doesn’t mean that that new user isn’t revisiting the site directly and making another conversion.

Related: Save Hours Tagging UTM Codes With This Tool

So you should always be looking in GA to see if you direct traffic and conversions are lifting. The goal is to create the first touch and initial familiarity with the brand which does increase the chance of the users returning to the site to actually convert.”

Brandon Nelson, Co-Founder Of Advanture Thinks That:

“I can honestly say that without Instagram and Snapchat, my van converting company wouldn’t be thriving like it is today. We actually began the company from an Instagram account called Advanture.co.

Related: Tips & Benefits of Instagram for Business

We began posting pictures of vans that we converted and have since then acquired a ton of leads from direct messages we received on the Instagram platform. We were then able to carry the conversations off of the platform to lead to a conversion.”

  It’s obvious based on the varied responses that this topic is still up for debate. Some believe that social channels are very convertable channels while others believe social channels are merely a first touch. Either way, social media, influencer marketing, public relations and all brand awareness channels are a critical part of the customer journey, and withthout them you’ll likely get lost on your path to finding the greatest return.

 

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Kate is the director of Public Relations at Power Digital Marketing with an extenisve background in traditional media relations and digital marketing with the goal of bridging the gap between brand awareness and ROI.