How Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest Help Generate and Track Sales

By: Kathleen Celano, Brownstein Group

June 20, 2017

For many businesses, leads and sales are primary KPIs. But before you can track sales, you have to generate them—and standing out from the crowd on social media is no easy task.

Online consumers can anticipate when ads are coming and they know when and how to skip them. Think about when an ad pops up in the middle of viewing Stories on Snapchat, what’s the first thing you do? Tap to skip. Or when an ad pops up on YouTube, let’s face it, you’re just waiting those few seconds until you’re allowed to skip the ad.

If we as marketers are skipping ads on social media, why would we expect consumers not to do the same?

To stand out against all of the other advertising on social media, you almost have to blend in by using the platform the way your consumers do. You need to know who your audience is and what platforms they’re using. Beyond that, you need to understand, and even become a part of, their path to purchase.

Brownstein Group, Kathleen Celano, social media content supervisor,

Kathleen Celano, social media content supervisor, Brownstein Group

Are your target consumers getting inspiration online? Where are they making purchases, on mobile, desktop, through a social platform, your website or in-store? It’s crucial to understand their journey so that you know exactly when, where and how your content can influence their purchases.

Fortunately, that’s getting easier—the major social media platforms continue to develop new technologies to help us generate and track sales.

Buyable Pins, Offline Conversions and Snap to Store

Pinterest’s Buyable Pins let people buy your products without ever leaving Pinterest. These pins tell a user if your product is in stock and available for purchase by featuring the product’s price in a big, blue font on the pin. These pins work across both mobile and web so sales can be made across any device.

All of the platforms have come a long way in incorporating e-commerce into their latest features, but measuring the impact of social ads on store visits and in-store sales has proven to be difficult. To combat this, Facebook introduced ad formats that drive customers to a store by prominently featuring maps and calls to action that are based on a business’ location.

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In addition, you can optimize your ads to deliver a store-visit metric. As Facebook explains it, its offline conversions API allows businesses to match transaction data from their customer database or point-of-sale system to Facebook ads reporting, helping them better understand the effectiveness of their ads.

Not to be outdone, Snapchat is also showing advertisers how effective their ads are at getting people to visit a specific store with a feature called Snap to Store. This tool lets advertisers know where users go after viewing a sponsored location-based ad, with the help of user location data and a partnership with Foursquare that helps determine where users are at a given time. Snapchat tracks the user who took the photo with a sponsored geofilter, but also tracks which friends saw that photo and subsequently visited the store.

The major social media platforms know we’re trying to figure out how to prove ROI on their channels and are innovating accordingly. And these are just a few of the latest developments. So, it’s critical to stay up to date because the ways to measure sales on social media platforms are rapidly evolving, sometimes faster than the platforms themselves.


Kathleen Celano is a social media content supervisor with Brownstein Group, responsible for implementing strategic social media programs for clients including IKEA USA and DuPont Sorona.

Connect with Kathleen Celano: @kathleencelano

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