Jan 27 2014, 10:32am CST | by Forbes
The report, drawn from anonymous, aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies using Adobe’s Marketing Cloud services, indicates that Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter are now seeing big increases in revenue per visit thanks to their driving more consumers to retail sites.
Even Tumblr, which Yahoo bought last year in a $1.1 billion deal that has since drawn a lot of criticism as Tumblr traffic growth has apparently waned , showed that it might have a chance to fulfill Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s hopes after all. Adobe says revenue per visit to Tumblr, derived from sending consumers to retail sites via ads, social media pages, and brand posts, jumped 340% from a year ago. Pinterest saw a 244% jump in revenue per visit, while Twitter logged a 131% increase and Facebook revenue per visit was up 72%.
Though surely the incredible increases posted by Tumblr and Pinterest are off a relatively small base a year ago, Adobe also says there are other factors. Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index, the Adobe unit that compiled the report, thinks the jumps mainly have to do with the visual nature of those two social networks vs. Facebook , which for all its posted photos still depends to a large extent on text posts, both by users and by marketers.
Pinterest even overtook Facebook for referring revenues in the fourth quarter in the United Kingdom, and Adobe expects it to blow past Facebook’s revenue per visit in the U.S. this year. Tumblr almost caught up with Facebook’s revenue per visit as well, coming in only 10% lower.
Some of the gains by Facebook competitors, of course, comes from the fact Facebook has years of revenue growth already, so the leading social network still leads by far in revenues. Still, the signs are worrisome for Facebook, says Gaffney. “Growth might be slowing down because of competition,” she said in an interview. “Facebook is going to have to do some new things to improve click-throughs on its ads.”
Not all the news is bad for Facebook. Adobe says brand marketers, who spend the largest chunk of ad dollars overall, are finding Facebook ads more attractive. Facebook’s click-through rate on ads jumped 365% from a years ago, even as its ad prices in cost per thousand impressions–a method of payment used by brand marketers looking to influence brand or purchase preferences more than trying to get an immediate click-to-buy–rocketed 437%.
What’s more, brand posts are attracting more attention from Facebook users, with social engagement such as comments, shares and likes on the posts up 180% from a year ago. Brand posts with images in them got more than seven times the engagement of text posts, though posts with links, text or (oddly) video got less engagement than a year ago.
For all that, Facebook’s competition–and the chief competition for all social networks for that matter–is not other social networks but search. Though this report doesn’t address search ads, chiefly from Google, they drive much more revenue to retailers and just about every other site than social networks.
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