Sure, humans are social beings — and we seem to be getting even more social on Facebook and Twitter, according to the Adobe Social Media Intelligence Report.

All that activity is boosting ad revenues for both social networks. Advertising on Twitter and Facebook ramped up quite a bit in 2013. Facebook click volume is up 29 percent year-over-year, and Facebook impressions volume is up 85 percent year-over-year.

Beyond Likes + Retweets

Sponsored tweets on Twitter have become a monster for referral traffic. In addition, Twitter's share of traffic to retailers has gone up 2.5 times and revenue per visit shot up 300%. That represents impressive growth, even though revenue per visit is still higher on Facebook and Pinterest. 

Organizations that have committed to advertising on social media are now beginning to see it pay off. Click through rates on Facebook are up 275 percent. Combine that with the fact cost per click is down 40 percent, it adds up to a return on investment (ROI) increase of 58 percent, Adobe found.

Facebook does especially well for retailers, even though referrals are down 20 percent. While they represent a smaller portion of overall spending, Pinterest and Twitter are gaining influence, particularly in the e-commerce world.

Overall, click through rates for paid advertising on social media has just about doubled this year. Additionally, cost per thousand (CPM) rates are up 120 percent year over year, and the majority of that growth happened in just the most recent quarter. 

This could be instructive for the last quarter of the year as merchants ramp up for the busy holiday season. In fact, retail costs per click (CPC) spiked 42 percent during the holidays in 2012 even though Facebook CPC is down 40 percent year-over-year.

Adobe looked at 200 billion Facebook ad impressions, more than one billion Facebook posts and more than 400 million unique visitors to social media sites for this report.


Companies are improving their customer engagement methods on social media even though Facebook now limits the amount of fan content people see.

Engagement, Attribution

While there is certainly more to social media than likes and retweets, these are still valuable metrics. For example, 87 percent of all social engagement is produced by likes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, posts that contain images are more engaging than text only posts. How much more engaging? Try 600 percent.

Organizations are also building engagement with location-targeted ads, which are up 67 percent year-over-year. The report also looked at sentiment across social networks, a way to dig deeper into audience thinking. Tumblr had the highest sentiment ratings by network, and travel and hospitality had the highest ranking by industry. On the attribution side, revenue per visitor is growing, and as it does, social media is expected to continue to gain importance among marketers.

Twitter and Facebook mobile ads are growing and as we get closer to a Twitter IPO, this story will likely get more interesting to an even wider audience. 

Image Credit: Cienpies Design / Shutterstock