What Are Conversions in Social Media?

Published on
August 31, 2023
What Are Conversions In Social Media? | Guide | Aura Ads
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Put simply, a conversion in social media is when a specific action is taken on a social media advertisement or post by a potential customer that links directly to your business goals. It essentially represents a step taken by a user on social media that leads to a potential sale.

The most common misconception is that the only eCommerce conversion that matters in social media is a purchase. However, to increase revenue from the online store, focusing on, setting goals and measuring multiple conversions across social media and the online store is essential.

In this guide we’ll take you through eight different call-to-actions you could use to measure and improve the success of your online store. Our advice is to select and focus on 3 or 4 of these call-to-actions that relate the closest to your customer journey.

If you’re struggling to decide which conversions are best for your business or how to track them, we recommend booking a call with a social media consultant to help.

8 conversion metrics that can be used in social media include:

  1. Click-through conversions
  2. Website visits
  3. Form submissions
  4. App installations
  5. Video views & engagement
  6. Add to cart
  7. Purchase conversions
  8. Phone calls

We’ll take a deeper look at each of these conversion metrics to allow you to identify which specific conversions are most relevant to your business.

1. Click-through conversions

Click-through conversions broadly relate to when a potential customer clicks through to a website, store or landing page and proceeds to complete a desired action on that page. These click-through conversions tend to manifest themselves as ‘buy now’, ‘claim offer', ‘sign up’ buttons or swipe-up call-to-actions on a social media advertisement or post.

click-through conversions
Test different call-to-action buttons to improve your click-through conversions.

Click-through conversions are very commonly used in social media, however whilst click-through can be a great method of measuring how attention grabbing a social media ad is, it’s generally poor at measuring how well an ad converts as a whole. When combined with a purchase metric though, you can effectively track a user's journey and chances of purchase.

2. Website visits

Website visit conversions are very similar to click-through conversions, though the key difference being that the user actually made it through to the website, store or landing page without it crashing or without the load speed being so slow that the user gave up.

When to consider load speed

If you’re gaining a high percentage of click-throughs (anything 10% or higher), but your website visits are lower, this could indicate that your landing page either doesn’t load at all, or is struggling with slow load speed. 

There are some fantastic plug-ins that can help improve load speed or alternatively Google PageSpeed Insights can diagnose specifically what is slowing your website down.

3. Form submissions

As an alternative to a standard landing page to drive purchases, you may be driving users to a questionnaire, survey or sign up form. When a user successfully submits a form, this is known as a form submission conversion.

Some reasons for using a form as a conversion include:

  • Gathering feedback on an MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Gathering consumer insights on a new product
  • Gathering market research
  • Gathering consumer details for a pre-order or to send product updates

Combining both click-through and form submission conversion rates is a great indicator of how easy or understandable your form is for users to complete. For example, if your click-throughs are at a positive 10%, but form submissions are struggling to move beyond 1.5%, this indicates that your form needs to be made easier to understand or easier to navigate.

4. App Installations

As an eCommerce brand you may be questioning whether app installations even belong in an eCommerce guide, however some of the largest product brands in the world such as Ikea, Startbucks and Nike use apps to sell their goods.

installing app conversions
Mobile apps can increase conversions and retention significantly for consumer or subscription brands.

Nike’s direct and digital performance drove direct sales up 73% to $4.5 billion during the fourth quarter of 2019, their app was at the core of this growth. Thereforefore, tracking app installations could be a key conversion metric in the success of your business.

Check out the CTV News clip below on the successful launch of Starbucks’ mobile app to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction:

When combined with click-through conversions, measuring the difference between your click-through percentage and app download percentage will indicate how effective your app store listing is in selling your app to potential customers.

5. Video views & engagement

The impact of using video in social media advertising cannot be underestimated, with 79% of marketers in 2022 adopting video into their marketing strategy and 99% of those are already using video planning to use it more.

Measuring video views and engagement are both as important as each other as they indicate different things:

  • Video views indicate how effective your video headline and thumbnail are at attracting attention and clicks
  • Video engagement such as play duration and call-to-action clicks will indicate how effective the content of your video is in attracting new customers.

Creating a great video marketing campaign can require investment both in time and money so ensure you’re tracking both views and engagement to optimise your social media video ads.

6. Add to cart

Add to cart conversions are not to be confused with purchase conversions. Add to cart indicates your buyer's intent and specific product interest prior to purchasing and can be essential in determining which products are most popular and should therefore be the focus of ad campaigns, email marketing efforts and homepage features.

When used in combination with click-through conversions, you can begin to understand how effective your online store is in getting users interested in your products and to what extent by measuring average cart value.

7. Purchase conversions

For eCommerce stores, tracking purchases made as a result of clicking on a social media ad or post is absolutely essential for measuring your return on ad spend, otherwise known as ROAS.

When used in combination with add to cart conversions, you can begin to understand how committed your customers are and which social media ads or posts inject the most enthusiasm and urgency into the user.

making a purchase conversion using card
Ensure you include multiple ways to pay for your goods where possible.

If your add to cart rate is significantly higher than your purchase rate, these are some potential causes:

  • Your postage costs are too high
  • Customers are put off by additional fees
  • The checkout process takes too long
  • The customer is unable to use their preferred payment method
  • The customer wants to spread their payment
  • The discount code doesn’t work or the discount box is hard to find

Think of your purchase conversion rate as the heart of your performance tracking, allowing you to understand if social media advertising is really worth it to your business. If your purchase rate is below 5%, it could be worth consulting an ecommerce video ad agency to create effective video ads for you.

8. Phone calls

Whilst most online stores now use chat functions or chat bots to communicate with users, phone calls - particularly if your product is of high or premium value - can be an important conversion metric.

A high phone call rate could indicate that your website is hard to use or your products are hard to understand, especially if this high phone call rate is combined with a low purchase rate. That said, a low phone call conversion rate combined with an increasing purchase rate indicates that your website is effective in converting customers from your social media ads.

Which conversions should I track?

Ultimately the conversions you choose to track should relate to your specific product offering. However, the one important factor is ensuring that you’re tracking conversion at every stage of the customer journey from the social media ad itself, to the online store, to the checkout. This way you can identify which areas of your social media strategy need improving with confidence.


We are Aura Ads, a unique performance creative agency designed for D2C eCommerce brands. We help clients sell more online and grow at scale with our bespoke video and static creative delivered on a monthly basis.

For more tips on how to create great social media ads, visit our social media marketing blog.

Written by Aled, for Aura Ads.

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