Commentary

What Would Search Do Without Social?

Social commerce continues to evolve as a way to augment search engine marketing campaigns. While the data stands on its own, it also integrates well into SEM ad targeting and remarketing platforms. In fact a study released Tuesday notes a 60% year-over-year increase in revenue originating from social sites. Discoverability on Pinterest, Polyvore, Houzz, and Wanelo becomes increasingly important as brands follow consumers to sites where they search for information about products they want to buy.

The DataPop and Kenshoo Social Commerce Index (SCI) highlights retailers leading in social commerce, types of content driving engagement, and strategies increasing the ability to discover products on social shopping sites.

Brands traditionally had a stronger presence on social sites. While that's good for driving engagement among the brand's most passionate consumers, if they want to reach a broader audience through these sites, marketers need to pay attention to more performance marketing techniques like search engine optimization. Search drives much of the engagement. "I can see brands falling into the trap to use the sites for brand storytelling as opposed to driving commerce and that's a big missed opportunity," said Dave Schwartz, CRO at DataPop. 

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Creating benchmarks, DataPop and Kenshoo leveraged proprietary analytics to evaluate tens of thousands of Pins and social posts. The posts spanned 13 retail verticals and covered thousands of products most relevant to consumer intent, as indicated the keywords they used to search for information.

Retailers must align content with consumer intent to make products discoverable. "Emphasizing relevance has been a core best practice for SEO practitioners for years, and this approach translates directly into Pinterest search and home feed listings," per the report. "Pinterest recently highlighted this as a way for retailers to increase discoverability within the social media site." Etsy, 6PM.com, Neiman Marcus, Amazon, and eBay are the top five woman fashion brands doing this well, per the study.

Etsy, Buckle, Uoionline.com, Blue Cream, Net-A-Porter, and LuLu are the top five woman fashion retailers with high social commerce engagement scores. In aggregate, more than 70% of the most engaging Pins focus on a specific product, compared with Pins that focus on brand-building and lifestyle content. Within product content, the image remains a top driver of engagement. Images with an authentic setting versus a white background drive 159% more Likes and re-Pins, per the study.

Not surprisingly, in-depth information drives better engagement. DataPop and Kenshoo’s analysis of a retailer’s most successful product Pins, Rich Pins drove 20% more engagement per Pin than those without the rich product information.

Some of the recommendations based on the analysis include aligning social commerce content with consumer trends and intent. It may sound obvious, but the study also suggests posting more products to social sites. Retailers only post 7.2% of their top-selling products to social sites.

Social commerce isn't purely transactional, so it provides opportunities to work with search to develop a strategy. Set-up processes to bridge the two by breaking down organizational silos and modeling the consumer journey of both discovery and shopping.

"Icons" photo from Shutterstock.

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