Social commerce – who is the biggest referrer?

Facebook introduced “Facebook Shops” – time to take a closer look at the role of social media in eCommerce

Facebook has used the corona lockdown phase to accelerate their efforts in launching a new tool: Facebook Shops. The new shopping feature allows any eCommerce business – big or small – to advertise and offer their products on Facebook and Instagram for free. The personalized shops are visible on business pages, in targeted ads and on Instagram profiles. Facebook announced that with this new free and easy-to-use feature, they want to help retail businesses of any size and eCommerce experience to survive the lockdown measures by promoting their products via another online channel: social media. The importance of social media as a means of promoting and selling goods online has constantly grown over the past few years and the potential of social commerce is undisputed. Time to take a closer look at the sales channel:

Social commerce – who is the biggest referrer?

The pioneer of social media platforms is the unrivalled number 1 in social commerce: With a share of 80.4%, Facebook clearly dominated the count of eCommerce referrals in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2019. The only other platforms that also play a role are Instagram – which also belongs to Facebook – and Pinterest. 10.7% of all traffic to an eCommerce site that was redirected from a social media platform came from Instagram. Pinterest was responsible for 8.2% of all referrals from social media sites. With percentages below 1, Reddit and Twitter can be neglected.

social commerce referral traffic

It is, however, quite interesting that Facebook is not in the lead when it comes to growth. When comparing referrals of the fourth quarter of 2019 with those of Q4 2018, it turns out that Facebook increased their referrals to online store websites by only 24%, while the image sharing service Pinterest was able to grow its referrals by 27%. The video platform YouTube beats Facebook as well in terms of referral growth, even if only by 1 percentage point. Instagram follows in fourth place with a year-on-year growth in referrals of 23% between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019. Twitter wasn’t able to increase its role as an online store referrer at all.


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June 2020