Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

This is a Click to Action

Actions speak louder than words. And as such, we have the responsibility to lead desirable and mutually beneficial actions through meaning engagement. It’s difficult to do so however, when we focus our efforts on cultivating communities where success is derived by their respective populations. From views and impressions to Likes and Retweets to the count of our Friends, Fans and Followers (3F’s), we miss sight of what’s truly important, connections, outcomes, and the experiences we define and nurture.

Focusing on numbers is only part of the story in this intricate production we call social media. In the world of storytelling and audience engagement, the audience is represented by not only the people we draw into the theater, but also those we do not. And for those we attract, we must define the intended experiences and desirable outcomes we wish to produce. Doing so will set the stage for consumers to take action and also share experiences across their social and interest graphs. We’re then introduced to important social touchpoints and the metrics that ultimately reveal the effect of our engagement and also how we can improve experiences and outcomes over time.

A Click to Action

Design the preferred outcome and experience and reverse engineer it in order to bring it to life. To do so, we have to realize that not all friends, followers, fans or views are created equally. And, we must also recognize that the prevailing cultures and supporting behaviors in each network dictate very different results. To trigger the social effect, an understanding of network performance is fundamentally essential to the architecture of discreet initiatives within each engagement strategy.

For example, let’s take a look at Facebook Likes. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user, showing the tremendous opportunity to reach “trend setters” aka tastemakers who can help achieve the greatest reach and distribution of content and more importantly, your story. According to Facebook, the Likers are more engaged, active, and connected than the general population of the global social network. At the same time, they’re genuinely interested in exploring new content. As a result, they click on 5.3x the links than that of the typical Facebook user.

Social Commerce

In the world of social commerce, the connected consumer is at the center of influence. Ensuring beneficial experiences and empowering them with sharing mechanisms ensure that their reach is maximized. Again, networks and the people who populate them, engender varying results. Online ticketing provider Eventbrite released the results of a recent survey that found Facebook sharing to outperform Twitter by as much as 6x.

According to Eventbrite, Facebook shares led the pack, generating an average of $2.52 from 11 referrals. Just behind Facebook, sharing via email came in second at $2.34. However, the delta between Facebook and email and the rest of the referring sources is vast.  LinkedIn shares were valued at $0.90 and Tweets were worth only $0.43.


Likers form an “always on” audience. The average Liker on a news site, for instance, is 34 whereas the media age of a newspaper subscriber is 54. If we examine the effects of Likers on the media industry, we can get a clearer picture of their influence. In fact, many publishers are reporting overwhelming results after introducing the social sharing buttons, empowering viewers to share stories across their social graph with one click.

Sample reports according to Facebook:

ABC News is up over 190% as a result of adding social plugins
Gawker claims an surge of over 200%
TypePad reports increases over 200%
Sporting News is up by 500% states that Facebook is now the number 2 referral source

Publishes also report that increased engagement is an organic byproduct of a social referral ecosystem. At, Facebook visitors are reading 92% more articles, spending 85% more time on-site, viewing 86% more videos, and generating 36% more visits than visitors from other sites.

What are the best ways to reach these people? According to Facebook, it starts with…

1. Implement social plugins, beginning with the Like button. When a person clicks Like, it (1) publishes a story to their friends with a link back to your content, (2) adds the article to the reader’s profile, and (3) makes the article discoverable through search on Facebook.

2. Optimize the Like button. By showing friends’ faces and placing the button near engaging content (but avoiding visual clutter with plenty of white space), clickthrough rates improve by 3-5x according to Facebook.

3. Publish back. Publishing engaging stories or status updates (things that are emotional, provocative, related to sporting events or even simple questions) increase on-Page engagement by 1.3-3x.

4. Integrate the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugins. Highlighting most popular content on your site leads people to view more articles. Those who click on the Activity Feed plugin in particular generate 4x as many page views as the average media site viewer. Place it above the fold on your home page and at the bottom of each article for maximum engagement.

5. Use the Live Stream to engage users during live events. The live stream box can serve as a way to reach your audience, facilitate sharing of your content, and get them involved in what you’re streaming, be it an interview, conference, or other type of event.

A Tweet to Action

One of the greatest challenges any brand will experience in Twitter is the very thing that makes it so special, the ability to earn attention in real-time. Twitter, by intention, is fleeting. We are constantly sharing, engaging, and consuming micro-sized portions at a constant pace. To connect here, requires creativity, relevance, value, and a sense of reward.

Social media analytics and monitoring service Sysomos studied over 1.2 billion tweets over the course of two months and found that Twitter is indeed a broadcast system rather than a social network. As part of its Engagement Report,

When examining the idea of triggering a click to action, Sysomos discovered that only 29% of Tweets generate a reaction, usually in the form of a reply or ReTweet, which was the overwhelming majority of all replies at 19.3% or 72 million. Of those RTs, 92.4% happen within the first hour dropping to 1.63% in the second hour and almost cease completely in the third hour with .94%. On Twitter, we are competing for the moment.

Like RTs, the bulk of replies occur within the first hour as well. In the first hour, the average replies numbered at 96.9% within hour one and only .88% in hour two.

Sysomos also reviewed the depth of conversation threads on Twitter. The data fueled the idea of Twitter serving the role of broadcast network over a conversational platform. The extent of dialog is measured at three levels deep. Of all of the Tweets that generated a reply, 85% received one reply and 10.7% witnessed a reply to the original reply. Only 1.53% of Tweets experienced a reply to the reply of an original Tweet.

Does this information from Sysomos lead us to assume that Twitter’s role in our click to action programs is less important than expected? Not at all.

Influence on decisions, actions, referrals, and referring sources are dramatically leaning toward social. When it comes to click-through rates, Twitter crushes Facebook according to SocialTwist, makers of the Tell-a-Friend widget that lets users share content through social media.  The company found that click-through rates via social networks outperformed links shared in email and blogs.

As we reviewed earlier, Facebook is by far, the preferred service for sharing representing over 78% of all SocialTwist shares.

However, here’s the promise for Twitter. Of all social networks, Twitter is the most effective tool for triggering coveted click-throughs. Whether Tweets are organic or Promoted, Twitter believes that it has “cracked the code on a new form of advertising.” At the same time, it has also cracked the code on a new type of interaction and engagement.  Click-through rates on Twitter averaged 1904% while Facebook yielded 287%.

In the end, we’re measured by who we reach, the experiences we create, and the actions we inspire. This is a call for a renewed focus on people and the value they seek tied to the outcomes that impact our business. A click to action is not a transaction, it is a form of currency where individuals on all sides benefit from each and every social exchange.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook
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136 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “This is a Click to Action”

  1. Great post…sharing is vital to success. Give people a choice so they can share however they choose too. One size doesn't fit all on the web.

    I'm passing this one onto my clients in our weekly “Top Reads” feed.


  2. Great post…sharing is vital to success. Give people a choice so they can share however they choose too. One size doesn't fit all on the web.

    I'm passing this one onto my clients in our weekly “Top Reads” feed.


  3. Interesting, but I guess the social network is short because by the time we saw some of the post it could already be flooding down the stream of tweets. Especially if you have a lot of followers.

  4. Prezzo Price says:

    cool! great read

  5. starfocus says:

    Really interesting post! Thank you!

  6. Sarah says:

    I am fairly new to Twitter, so it is interesting for me to read up on the Tweet Action stuff. I'm surprised to see that MySpace is still a preferred site over Twitter though.

  7. Didi Ziyad says:

    Very interesting post. In this part of the world (I'm in Kuala Lumpur), social media is changing a lot of things, be it in education, politic, business etc.

  8. Sebastien says:


    thanks for that great post, but I think some figures require moderation or at least additional comments.

    Regarding the 78% facebook share measured on the “tell a friend” widget, don't forget that the numbers of facebook users is 5 to 10 times (depending on the country) higher than twitter. That makes the gap not as huge.

    Am I wrong?

    Seb from France

  9. Lisa Thorell says:

    Exquisite analysis…helping me put some recent SM events in context. The latent power of Twitter’s “crushing” (as you put it) 1904% CTR over FB’s 287% CTR has yet to be realized. And I fear it will not be. For as you point out, FB “likers”, a distrinct higly influent subset inside FB, exhibit 5.3x the CTR behavior of the average FBer (i.e. less crushing). The problem i see is tht Twitter’s business strategy is not leveraging its crushing high- CTR influencers the way FB is, eg the FB-Bing deal. I don’t think that 6.6x CTR advantage factor forTwitter is going to sustain it long if Twitter doesn’t start building rich biz dev relationships between its hi influencers and a powerful partner outside the Twittersphere.

  10. Worob says:

    Helpful post, Brian. Going to use some of this information to help with proposals to current clients and prospective ones. Thanks!


    PR at Sunrise

  11. Lisandro Sosa says:

    great analysis, Brian. Very helpful. Thanks

    @lisosa from Argentina

  12. Peter Poulin says:

    Very provocative, Brian. Does analysis provide any distinction between B2B v B2C behavior? I'm likely to act on B2C via recs from my personal friends in FB, & more likely to act on B2B via professional contacts in LI and Twitter…

  13. Diane says:

    Great to see analysis and tips! Helps greatly. Thanks!

  14. Kijurewicz says:

    thank you for interesting advices! great work!
    Thank you!

  15. YPICommunications says:

    Really good post, Brian. Great social media food for thought. Technology may be pushing us forward at speed of light, but one thing that will always remain the same is the “people-factor”. It matters who we reach, how we reach them and what comes from their engagement.

  16. Sharon says:

    You always raise the bar for me & my understanding of how to to be a more perceptible engager
    of social media

  17. BARS+TONE says:

    Good read. I was interested in the part about defining the desired action and reverse engineering to get that desired effect. As a B2B provider, that has posed a problem for us. As such, analyzing or understanding an ROI on our efforts is difficult. Any suggestions?

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