Here's How The Social Platforms Are Performing For Ecommerce

Chris CrumeCommerce

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The social media landscape is getting more complex, but also potentially more helpful for ecommerce businesses almost by the day. The big social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have all been working on features that will help businesses sell products to users. Ultimately, it's all great for businesses selling online, and will only continue to become more so with increased availability of various features.

That said, there is a clear frontrunner in terms of which of these social platforms is actually helping sellers the most. It should come as no surprise as to which one that is. It's the one with 1.49 billion monthly active users and that's had a major motion picture made about it.

Which social media platform has been most helpful to your ecommerce efforts? Why? Let us know in the comments.

ChannelAdvisor has a new report (via MarketingLand) looking at online retail trends based on a poll of 200 online retailers including 100 in the US and 100 in the UK. 35% of US respondents and 38% of UK respondents make over $15 million annually in online sales. 40% of US respondents and 33% of UK respondents make over $29 million in total annual sales. 75% of all of them are privately owned, and most have between 100 and 999 employees. All sell online, while 74% of them also have a brick-and-mortar location.

72% are selling to consumers, while 40% sell to distributors, 36% to wholesalers, and 35% to other companies.

Increasing brand awareness tops the list of main business goals for social media use for a third of the respondents, while 24% of them listed "connecting with a new generation of customers" as a main one. About 20% primarily use social media to advertise deals and promotions.

Facebook is performing better than Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others in terms of conversions from social media platforms for the vast majority of those polled. About two thirds (64%) said Facebook creates the most sales conversions for their businesses. The number is about the same in both countries. 19% said Twitter, while 9% said Instagram, and just 5% said Pinterest, which is often looked looked upon as the ecommerce darling of social media. 2% said "other".

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In June, we looked at research from Jirafe, which studied the impact of Pinterest and Facebook across 80,000 profitable ecommerce sites. It also found that Facebook completely dominated.

“We work with more than 80,000 brands, and we wanted to validate what moves the needle for them right now, so they can start planning their strategy for the future,” said Jirafe CEO Amit Shah. “Hands down Facebook was the clear winner in terms of traffic, revenue, and orders.”

According to that study, Facebook visitors spend 3.5X more than the average visitors from Pinterest, and Facebook traffic converts 17% higher, though the conversion rates for both sources are still less than 1%. Facebook drives much greater traffic at a ratio of 8:1.

The study also found that Facebook drove 23X more orders than Pinterest for merchants over the first five months of the year. Across Jirafe’s merchant base Facebook also drove $32 in revenue for every $1 that Pinterest generated.

So maybe Pinterest isn't as great for selling as you may have thought? Well, that probably depends on who you are. The fact is that it's quite good for some.

Recent research from Shopfiy (and this was before the roll-out of the new "Buyable Pins," mind you) found that the average amount spend per order is higher than other social channels at $50. Pinterest is also the number two source of social media traffic to Shopify stores. According to the firm, 93% use Pinterest to plan purchases and 96% use it to gather product information. These are some pretty huge stats that shouldn't be ignored. 2 million people post product pins every day. For comparison, 100 thousand people visit the Mall of America on a daily basis.

And let's not forget about Twitter and Instagram, both of which rank higher in the ChannelAdvisor study. All of these platforms are really just getting started with their ecommerce offerings. Twitter, which recently showed off some product pages and collections that show a lot of selling potential, is said to be readying a big buy button push with Shopify and other ecommerce platforms. Instagram recently announced direct response ads, which will enable users to buy products as well.

But Facebook is doing more than anyone to become a better means of selling products. Beyond its buy button functionality, it's testing various features, including the ability to shop from Facebook Pages and even a new "Buy & Sell" feature from its main navigation, which will point users to places to buy (and sell) things, basically transforming Facebook into an ecommerce marketplace.

Regardless of which social platform gives you the most bang for your buck (and right now it's very likely going to be Facebook), it's clear that social media in general is finally starting to offer up some real potential for selling.

Do you expect to be able to sell more with social media thanks to new and pending features from Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Discuss.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.