Will Facebook's Dominance Of Social Ecommerce last?

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Facebook is (by far) the leading driver of social media referral traffic to websites and apps. That includes those selling products. While the social network completely dominates the landscape today, new research finds that other networks are growing much faster, while Facebook's growth has become relatively stagnant.

Are you comparable (to Facebook) benefits from other social media platforms when it comes to selling products online? Let us know in the comments.

A new study out from Pew says, "Facebook remains the most popular social media site – 72% of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62% of all American adults. Growth on the site has largely plateaued. There has not been a significant change in the overall share of users since 2012. Those on Facebook remain highly engaged with 70% saying they log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day."

"Usage continues to be especially popular among online women, 77% of whom are users," it says. "In addition, 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older."

Last month, Facebook reported having 1.49 billion monthly active users. It had 968 million daily active users.

According to the Pew study, both Pinterest and Instagram are really on the rise when it comes to people using them every day. Luckily for Facebook, it owns one of those.

In September of 2014, 49% of Instagram users reported using the site every day. Just since then, it's already climbed to 59%. How much higher will it be in another year?

Pinterest has doubled its users since 2012. 27% of those use it daily. That’s up from 17% last September.

A couple months ago we looked at research from commerce data provider Jirafe, which looked at the impact of Pinterest and Facebook across 80,000 profitable ecommerce sites. It found that Facebook visitors spent 3.5X more than the average visitors from Pinterest, and Facebook traffic converted 17% higher, though the conversion rates for both sources were still less than 1%. Still, Facebook drove 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.

Later that month, we looked at research from BI Intelligence, which measured the impact of social media on ecommerce by looking at conversion rates, average order value, and revenue generated by shares, likes, and tweets. It found that that social is already driving “much bigger” increases in retail traffic than any other online channel with referrals having increased about 200% between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015. It also found that Facebook continued to grow its lead as the dominant social commerce platform, accounting for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue.

Earlier this month, research from ChannelAdvisor come out looking at online retail trends based on a poll of 200 online retailers including 100 in the US and 100 in the UK. It also showed that 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”.

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.

At the same time, it's facing increasing competition on ecommerce features from Twitter and Pinterest, not to mention other non-social channels.

Long story short, Facebook looks like it's going to be your best means of social media-generated sales for the foreseeable future, but don't sleep on efforts from rivals, particularly Pinterest. Also, you're going to want to keep a close eye on the tools Instagram makes available to you as it's only becoming more of a staple of people's everyday lives.

Do you think Facebook continue to dominate social ecommerce by such a wide margin, or do you see the playing field becoming a bit more level? Let us know what you think.

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.