Social Media Retail Revenues Soar

The value of traffic referred to retail sites by social-media platforms soared in the fourth quarter, with triple-digit percentage increases for sites like Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest.

That finding, per Adobe’s new Social Media Intelligence Report, covers the fourth quarter of 2013. However, data from other studies suggests that social media remains a fairly small source of referrals for e-commerce, compared to other online platforms.
 
Between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013, the average amount of revenue generated by visitors referred to retail sites from social-media sites jumped from $0.25 per visit to $1.10 for Tumblr, a 340% increase; from $0.27 to $0.93 for Pinterest, a 244% increase; from $0.35 to $0.83 for Twitter, a 137% increase; and from $0.71 to $1.22 for Facebook, a 72% increase.
 
Although Facebook faces increasing competition from other social platforms for retail referrals, there was  a lot of good news for Big Blue. Facebook’s click-through rate increased 365% over this period, while its cost per thousand impressions jumped 437%. 

Its total ad click volume increased 125% year-over-year. Social engagement with brand posts on Facebook jumped 180% from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013. Brand posts with images produce 650% higher engagement than posts with just text.
 
The Adobe analysis draws on anonymous data from retail, media, entertainment and travel sites, including 240 billion Facebook ad impressions, over 1.5 billion Facebook posts, and 6.3 billion social engagement posts on Facebook, tracking a total of 500 million unique visitors.
 
While social-media retail referrals are booming in proportional terms, the total number of referrals from social-media sites is relatively modest, compared to other online sources, judging by a separate study from IBM.
 
IBM’s “Black Friday 2013” report found that total e-commerce sales rose 19.7% on Thanksgiving Day and 18.9% the following day, with the average order value increasing 2.2% to $135.27, making it the biggest Black Friday in e-commerce history. Still, referrals from social sites contributed just 1% of total traffic to e-commerce sites on Black Friday, as well as the week prior to it. That is basically the same proportion as last year.

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