If you run an ad campaign, or if you invest in organic content on social media, you’ll not only want to know if your campaign met its objective, you'll also be curious if it was above, at or below industry average. Conversion rates are the performance metrics that keep you honest. Depending on the brand, a “conversion” might mean a viewer visiting your website, subscribing to your newsletter, adding an item to their cart, or actually making a purchase.
But measuring conversions is complicated—and it depends a lot on what you are trying to achieve.
Good social media conversion rate benchmarks for Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok
In general, you could say the average conversion rate for a social media marketing campaign is 3%, but that average is not a one-size fits all approach. It depends on how you define a conversion and the social platform you’re using.
On Instagram, according to the e-commerce services brand MikMak, ads and organic posts had the same conversion rate: 18%. For reference, MikMak measured a “conversion” as any time a viewer clicked over to a brand website or tapped to view the product on Instagram.
On TikTok, meanwhile, ads had just a 2.3% conversion rate, according to MikMak. TikTok saw a 14% conversion rate on organic posts. Both of those figures are below the conversion rates that Instagram boasts. But for reasons we’ll get into below, the full picture might be more complicated.
Although numbers can vary, Facebook has an average conversion rate of about 9% on its ads.
These discrepancies in conversion rate show why Facebook and Instagram, despite the growing challenge from TikTok, still remain the dominant social commerce platforms.
In 2021, Facebook and Instagram accounted for 56% of all online shopping traffic from social media, according to MikMak. TikTok, by contrast, had just 10% of all social commerce traffic.
How do you increase your conversion rate to make advertising dollars go further?
Here are the most effective activities to try to boost social media conversions:
Respond to customer inquiries in the comments and DMs. This is going to be the easiest and most foolproof way to guarantee higher ad conversion rates. It's also often the most overlooked. Remember when you shopped in-person, there would be a sales representative to answer any questions you have about the products? This is the equivalent of that in the e-commerce world. Shoppers will often take to social media comments to ask questions about your products or return policies. All you have to do is respond to them (or get someone else to) to increase your conversion rate. There’s plenty of evidence that integrating your customer service team with your social media increases sales: Customers buy between 20% and 40% more from businesses that offer customer service on social media versus those that do not.
When you work with Chatdesk, our flexible support teams can talk to customers wherever they are, whether it’s in the TikTok comments, Instagram DMs, or in a live chat on your brand’s website. Chatdesk’s flexible approach means that our team members can answer customer questions as they come in, depending on your needs.
Test different CTA's. Wise marketers know to never underestimate the power of a CTA change. Some CTA's to test are: Buy Now, Get Your Discount, Claim Your Free Gift
Try ad re-targeting. On average, for e-commerce brands, about 70% of people who put an item in their cart will eventually abandon the purchase. That’s a huge number of near-misses. These cart abandoners might also be much more susceptible to your advertisements than the average person, since they already visited your website and saw something they liked enough to add to their cart. A simple way to increase conversion is to run an ad on Facebook or Instagram that, through the Facebook Pixel, re-targets people who have already visited your website. Adding a special offer into the ad—say, offering 10% off the item they abandoned in their shopper cart—could drive a number of sales.
Change up your audience targeting. Sure, you may go broad in the beginning, but your ad dollar will go further if you can target those that are ready to buy. Try different profiles and see which audience is giving you the most bang for your buck.
Rethink your web design. Increasing your conversion rate is not just about creating better social media content. It is also about making sure that the purchase journey is a smooth experience. Once a shopper is on your website, they’ll make a purchase about 2.86% of the time on average, according to Shopify. If you find that your website-viewer-to-buyer conversion rate is far below that, it might be time to rethink your web design.
But conversion rate is not one-size-fits-all
Your conversion rate can vary not just based on the social platform you’re using, but it can also depend on…
…What kind of product you sell: No matter how hard you work, certain product categories will naturally see higher conversion rates on social media than others. According to Convertcart, while arts and craft brands convert viewers into buyers 3.79% of the time, baby brands see conversion rates of just .99%. Other product categories, like fashion (2.44%) and home accessories (2.16%), fall somewhere in the middle.
…How many followers you have: Conversion rates on Instagram peak for accounts with between 10k and 50k followers, according to BazaarVoice. For brands of that size, 2.2% of people who view their content will make a conversion. (BazaarVoice defines a conversion as subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing a product.) That figure, however, drops to 1.8% for brands with less than 10k Instagram followers, to 1% for brands with between 50k and 100k followers, and to just .4% for brands with 1M+ followers.
In the end, if you want to evaluate the success of your social media presence, you should measure your brand against similarly sized competitors in your same product category. Comparing your conversion rate to a general number for Instagram or TikTok won’t actually give you a clear picture.
Conversion rates can represent an important indicator of how effective your social media spend is. But looking at conversion rate alone can be a mistake.
Conversions take time—and not every social platform is great at measuring that yet. Despite the fast pace of social media, plenty of people will take days or weeks to purchase your product after seeing an ad or an organic post about it on social media. In fact, many analysts think TikTok is understating its own conversion rates, since it only attributes conversions within a 24-hour window. Most TikTok users actually take a while to buy your product. The bedding brand Parachute said recently that the average TikTok viewer bought its product 7 to 10 days after first seeing a Parachute ad—well past the point when TikTok can measure the conversion.
Conversion rates are most helpful in the aggregate. When you partner with an influencer to promote your product, it can be tempting to evaluate whether or not to continue the sponsorship based on the first post. If the conversion rate initially isn’t as high as you hoped, you might be tempted to ditch that influencer. But it’s important to remember that people don’t usually buy your product right away. They need to see it again and again to be convinced to make a purchase. When you’re working with influencers, what actually works best is repeat engagement, so that your brand becomes known to that influencer’s followers and the partnership feels more authentic.
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