Mashable published an infographic today that has some new statistics your marketing department might be interested in. There has been much debate over the past two years about whether or not you can tie a specific ROI to social media efforts (we argue that you can with this video and this series). And it looks like we’re right. In fact, it is projected that 50% of all online sales will be via social media by 2015. Folks, that’s just right around the corner. So now is the time to get on board the social media train and start partnering with agencies who can figure out how to attribute ROI to social initiatives.

Facebook specifically presents a lot of opportunity for brands. About 89% of marketers manage Facebook pages for their clients, which is great, but what are they measuring? The value of a Facebook fan seems to be increasing and in order to maximize marketing dollars, you have to know how much your fans are worth:

Did you notice that last stat? A Facebook fan is worth 90% more than a regular customer to Apple. You might be asking yourself, “how did they come up with that statistic?” and there are certainly plenty of routes to find out information like this. Data enrichment can allow you to dive deeper into your demographics of purchasers and fans in order to cross-reference these two pools of people. What are some reasons that fans might be more likely to purchase? Firstly, they know what is coming. Apple is especially great about hyping their products before releasing to the public. Secondly, they are fed links and information that make purchasing easy. Marketers should limit the amount of steps it takes for consumers to purchase a product. This can be done with methods other than social, but it is important on social channels as well. Thirdly, they have a direct line to the company. Customer service is a huge plus for social media and customers who are fans are more likely to reach out this way in order to troubleshoot an issue or ask a question. If the issue is resolved, they are more likely to remain loyal to the brand and purchase in the future.

These statistics are also interesting. 1 in 5 consumers prefer Facebook as a method of purchasing instead of a website. How can you integrate products into your brand’s Facebook page to make it easier for those who wish to purchase here? Maybe it’s Facebook Marketplace or a more customized solution. Either way, this trend is likely to grow in the coming years. It is time to stop counting likes and comments and start measuring actual return on investment for your Facebook efforts because it is just bound to grow in the coming years.