THETFORD CENTER: Digital marketers regard social sharing and third-party credibility indicators as two of the most effective ways to boost conversion rates, research from Adobe, the software company, has found. 

The Adobe 2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, which received global responses from more than 1,800 digital marketers across North America, Europe, and Asia, asked marketers to rate the effectiveness of various digital elements in increasing conversion rates.

It found that 39% saw activities such as putting social sharing icons on pages to be "very effective" while 37% indicated that third-party credibility indicators, such as security seals, achieved a similar outcome.

When the "somewhat effective" rating was included, third-party credibility indicators were seen as most effective overall, with 84% responding positively to this approach, just ahead of the 83% recorded for social sharing.

More detailed analysis revealed particular aspects of social sharing effectiveness, with 37% of digital markers thinking that social sharing, live chat or instant messaging were very effective at increasing conversion rates.

The same proportion pointed to user-created collections for sharing and purchase, while 36% referred to user-generated content.

Other social tactics, including collaborative custom product design, blogs and social community pages, and user comments, reviews and ratings scored lower but were still seen as being at least "somewhat effective". Only around 20% rated these as "less effective".

Among the elements seen most widely as "less effective" were offers and promotions, cited by 41% of respondents, and photos or images, mentioned by 40%.

There are several other areas that marketers also need to address if they are to increase conversion rates.

For example, the survey found that many digital marketers are missing out on potential sales as 45% did not have a mobile-optimized site.

In addition, 87% of marketers said less than half of onsite visitors received targeted content.

The conclusion was that marketers who are not targeting content to visitors in a personalized way are falling behind their competitors.

Data sourced from Adobe, Marketing Charts; additional content by Warc staff