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Scott McCormick
 
June 25, 2013 | Scott McCormick

Social Media's Effect on Ecommerce

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Or in this case, believed.  For years, CEOs and CFOs have been asking "what is the value of Social Media?"  And those of us who believed in it, argued the necessity of "connecting" with our customers.  But, July marks the seventh birthday of the launch of Twitter (and, Facebook is now 9), so we really can't call this a "new" channel.  Let's refer to some real-world metrics, shall we?

The Q1 2013 research from Monetate provides some interesting facts to share with the C-levels looking for real numbers.

1. What Social Media Platforms Drive Traffic?

 

The chart above shows the share of social media referrals for eCommerce sites in the study.*  Facebook is still the king when it comes to driving traffic to websites for sales, but Twitter is the new Queen and making some impressive gains.  This is likely to Twitter growing up as a medium and less of a novelty.  As companies see the importance, there is demand for more sophisticated tracking and qualified conversations are the result.

2. What Social Media Channels Drive Sales?

So, traffic is nice, to be sure, but what you want are sales.  The chart above shows that we all shouldn't abandon SEO or SEM for sure, but Social channels are creeping up.  And, again, if you want to sell wine, use Facebook.  Eventually Pinterest could potentially be a real player, too.

3. How Does This Compare to "Traditional" eCommerce Marketing?

Don't throw away those email addresses yet - email is still the best referrer to add-to-cart actions.  And, depending on the research you read, consumers report a 60-74% preference toward emails as the channel for marketing.  So, having smart email segmentation, landing pages and integrated programs still apply.

Why Do I Care?

You care about this because you can use this data to benchmark your own site and see where to focus your marketing efforts.

  1. Use Google Analytics to evaluate the social traffic sources driving visitors to your site and understand how the social media channels and activity impact your business.
  2. Also, plan a "1-2 punch". Improve engagement off-site with tailored offers, promotions and content, and then optimize for on-site engagement and continually improve the user experience.
  3. And, finally, don't let them forget you.  Think about encouraging your visitors to share information across your site.

 

*The data is based 500 million visits amongst their clients who include Ecommerce brands such as Best Buy, Frontier Airlines, Aeropostale, The Sports Authority, and PETCO.

 

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