Is Social Media Very Good For Ecommerce Conversions?

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Social media might not be all that great for ecommerce. At least not yet. Sure, it's wonderful for branding and general marketing, but as far as getting actual conversions, the channel is severely lacking, according to some sources.

Do you see significant conversions from social media referrals? How does it stack up to other channels like search and email? Let us know in the comments.

Bounce Exchange conducted a survey, and found that 83% of online marketers believe social media marketing is important for their businesses, but after analyzing over $1 billion U.S. ecommerce transactions, it found that social media marketing efforts only account for about 1.2% of total site conversions.

Among its other findings:

  • 53% of social media marketers do not measure the success of their investments in social
  • Social conversion rates are 51% lower than sites’ overall average rates
  • Followers are often engaging in content that is not directly related to the ultimate product
  • Click rates on follow and share buttons are very low and often distract shoppers which cause shopping cart abandonment
  • Bounce Exchange also brings up the fact that Facebook has all but killed the organic reach of Page post (but you already know all about that), though according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook "still overall a very good, organic and free way to reach and communicate with your customers."

    He didn't actually say it was a very good way to "sell to customers".

    While the success of ecommerce conversions through social media channels will obviously vary greatly by business, it could trend towards the more positive in the months and years to come. This is starting to become an actual focus of social platforms.

    As you may know, Facebook and Twitter are both testing buy buttons, which enable brands to give customers direct calls to action in their News Feeds and timelines. See something cool that you really want to own as you're doing your daily browsing (which let's be honest, occurs multiple times throughout the day)? Just click buy and get it without jumping through extra hoops. Both buttons should be significant in improving conversions from mobile devices.

    In fact, we had a pretty good conversation about that with ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo a while back. Facebook's in particular could be just what mobile commerce is looking for. This is the kind of thing you're inevitably going to start seeing more of in your News Feed:

    Here's an example of a tweet with the button.

    Even Tumblr has launched its own buy button and other similar call to action buttons that it is showing for content from a few select sites:

    It's early days for the social media buy button, so it's hard to say just how successful it'll be (and even that could vary by platform), but the major players seem to agree that there's some real potential with it. Even if it means paid social media marketing, buttons like Twitter's and Facebook's (and maybe Tumblr's eventually as it expands) could help in the social ROI department. It's going to be very interesting to watch how consumers interact with them.

    It could be that while these features will help social conversions, they could end up doing little to help social compete with other channels overall. People aren't typically looking to shop when they hop on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. They're looking for content to consume. It's not like search where they're seeking products out.

    Do you consider social media to be a good channel for ecommerce conversions today? Do you think these buy buttons will make for significant improvements? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    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.