How to improve the ROI of social media with interactive images and video

Posted by Ulla-Maaria Koivula on Aug 7, 2015 4:31:00 PM
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Marketing managers who ignore looking deeper into image and video analytics are letting valuable opportunities pass by. The capability for making online marketing work requires a deeper understanding on how the most popular content in social media - images and videos - can best contribute to reaching the ultimate business goals. 

Most companies still struggle in validating the direct impact of social media marketing to their business. However, as a communication channel, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have become a necessity.

There is some data on what works best for getting consumers’ attention.  According to an early  Hubspot Study, posts on Facebook that include images get 53% more Likes. In eCommerce, several studies show that over 70% of people are more likely to buy after seeing a product video. As our attention span in the web has becomes shorter, the importance of visual communication grows. Text-based web gives way to visual web.

As this seems to be the case, key questions are:

a) How do you measure consumer engagement and conversion through images and video?
b) How can image and video metrics help us improve the ROI of social media marketing?
c) What do you miss if you ignore tracking image/video performance?


For most brands, the underlying goal of marketing is revenue. If not revenue, brands seek social influenceFor performance, we usually track traffic, number of followers, referrals, engagement, and conversion.

More traffic leads to more sales or more (paid) page views. More followers lead to more referrals, which again comes back to traffic. Still, traffic needs to convert, otherwise it has no value. How can data on interactive image and video performance help us drive traffic and conversion, is something new we are still learning about.

The following is an example of what kind of data we can get from sharing an interactive image to a blog and Facebook News Feed.

The case of an interactive image collage

Let’s say I am a small boutique owner in NY. Every first Monday of the month I post to Facebook an image collage of new arrivals and featured products. I link each item back to my store.

The first thing I want to track is reach. Is my audience noticing the image collage, how many views it is getting compared to my other posts? Six hours after publishing I notice that on my blog the post has been viewed 1255 times, where as on Facebook it has been viewed 5024 times. This is encouraging. Someone is liking it.

The next thing I want to know is which items in the image people find most interesting. On ThingLink, each time when a person moves their mouse over an item, or when they tap it on a smartphone, this small action registers as a preview of the content. These previews are called “hovers” or “link views”.

Link views indicate consumer interest

Link views give us valuable information on our audience’s interests. In this case, the brass chandelier got 1375 hovers, whereas the teak bowl only got 250 hovers. Clearly, the chandelier may be a better hit for bringing people to my store than the teak bowl. Without these more specific image statistics from the embedded content tags, I would miss this insight.

Clicks per link reveal conversion funnel

As I dive deeper into my image statistics, I notice one more important data point. Although the chandelier got most hovers, it is the teapot that converted the most traffic back to my online store! Altogether I got 647 clicks back to my store, and the teapot accounted for 40% of all clicks. Now I know what items to spotlight in my holiday sales newsletter.

Embedded image performance tells more about referrals

Lastly, I noticed something very interesting: ten of my customer’s have liked the post so much that they have embedded the image collage on their own blogs. What I’m especially excited about is seeing how my collage is performing on these different blogs. Now it seems that out of ten, there are two bloggers who bring in 35% of the total traffic! I’ll make a note to myself to contact these bloggers and send them something nice as a thank you. Before this post, I had no idea of their influence.

How do these insights deepen my understanding of the key performance indicators?

Traffic and referrals: The ThingLink images and videos can be shared with actionable links, and now it is not only my blog or even only my Facebook activity that drives traffic back to my site. Any follower who shares the image collage onward via their channels becomes a traffic generating publisher for my content. In addition to unique visitors and pageviews, I can now track image or video views from multiple embed locations and start to identify influencers.


In addition to likes and shares, I can now “look inside” my image and video content and better understand what about the content interests my audience. I can choose to add several actionable links to my images and videos, track every preview and every click on each action point. This takes my engagement metrics towards a better understanding of the actual conversion funnel, and closer to my ultimate goal –revenue. Action points that do not drive link views or clicks can now be identified and optimized for better performance.

Why social media managers should care

If images and video play an important role in a brand’s marketing and social media strategy, understanding how they contribute to the key performance indicators is critical. The key insights that tagged interactive media analytics can help us understand:

1) What in images and videos catch people’s attention
2) What in images and videos make them visit your site

Interactive images and videos make your client’s key content accessible from across the web. A look into interactive image and video embeds may lead to finding referral sites that generate most of your traffic, and others that drive your conversion. You may also find that the audiences of the different referral sites have different ways of engaging with your content.

Marketing managers who ignore looking deeper into image and video analytics are letting valuable opportunities pass by. The capability for making social media marketing work requires a deeper understanding on how the most popular content in social media - images and videos - can best contribute to reaching the ultimate business goals.

Topics: Analytics

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