Social Climbing: Most Shoppers Have Purchased Via Facebook, Other Channels

Siloed email teams have another channel competing with them for resources within ecommerce firms: Social media. 

On the surface, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, but there’s an underlying context: A new study from SproutSocial shows that 65% of all consumers have made purchases directly through social commerce, with Facebook being the top network.

This could spell an opportunity—or a headache. On the one hand, emails can be tailored to pull shoppers to social channels rather than directly to ecommerce web sites, although people are already on social media and there’s no need to drive them to those walled gardens, assuming you have their email address and permission to use them.

On the other hand, it will likely be the email unit that is tasked with triggered follow-ups and other automated functions once the purchase is made. Social buying can be viewed as one more variable in effective omnichannel marketing.  



SproutSocial (a provider of social media management tools) surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers. 

It found that 71% of those individuals are using social more, and that 34% use it to learn about products, services and brands. 

And, 80% say brand familiarity makes them more likely to buy on social.  

What are they buying? They are going for:

  • Apparel — 45% 
  • Media — 26% 
  • App subscriptions — 23%
  • Books — 23%
  • Food/beverages — 23%
  • Jewelry/other accessories — 23% 
  • Cosmetics — 22%
  • Pet supplies — 20% 
  • Arts & crafts supplies — 20%

Email apparently doesn’t figure much at 

the opening stage. Consumers typically discover products through social commerce in these ways: 

  1. In-feed ads 
  2. Discovery pages
  3. Story ads 
  4. Posts from influencers and creators
  5. Livestream videos feeds
  6. Hashtags 

The study advises brands to use a hybrid of paid and organic strategies. 

None of this apparently will help much during the holiday gift-buying season. The study shows that 71% of consumers shop primarily for themselves in social commerce, 16% for family, 11% for partners/spouses and 1% for friends. 

On a creative level, here are the elements most likely to drive a purchase:  

  1. User-generated content 
  2. Seeing the product in action
  3. Pricing information
  4. Polished photography
  5. Coupons and promo codes

These requirements are not unlike those for emails and ecommerce sites.  

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