The Rise of Social Media in Online Retail [infographic]

Technology M&A in 2019

Social Media in Online Retail

How Important is Social Media in Online Retail?

Close to 2% of the total e-commerce traffic in the United States is being driven by social media and it continues to grow as e-commerce operators are seeing lead conversion benefits.

If we look at the top 500 global retailers in the world and their revenue base, we can see that they made a combined figure of $3.3 billion US dollars in revenue in 2014 that was solely driven by the social shopping phenomenon. This is significant because it showed a rise of 26% year-on-year when compared to 2013.

Social Media in Online Retail facts


Given the scale of Facebook and its dominance as the largest social player on the market, it is not surprising that its 1.5 billion users are shopping via its eco-system. Being one of the most mature social media sites with a vast network, Facebook has been best placed to facilitate the rise of social shopping.

However, Pinterest with its much smaller 100 million users is interesting as it has a target audience that is highly targeted. Almost a third of its users say that they buy something after seeing it pinned to a Pinterest board.

Social Media in Online Retail audience

In the end of 2015 Facebook announced turning its Pages into an online shop. According to Mashable, Facebook will also make it easier for people to interact with businesses through their pages with three new “call to action” buttons currently being tested: “Call Now,” “Send Message” and “Contact Us.”

Social Media in Online Retail facebook

Pinterest has already 60 million posts with “Buy” buttons but the platform is still not taking any cut from the sales. The U.S. Buyable Pins are designed to be mobile-friendly and support easy checkout mechanisms like Apple Pay.


Instagram ad formats are evolving in a fast pace. Their latest developments include call-to-action buttons such as “Shop Now”, and according to SocialTimes Instagram is working to make its sponsored posts even more relevant with better targeting (a strategy imported from parent Facebook).


Twitter with its Buy Now (only available in the U.S.) has big e-commerce partners such as Bigcommerce, Demandware and Shopify. Twitter is emphasizing the ease to promote, and distribute products on their platform. Companies can also take advantage of Twitter’s advanced targeting capabilities and the ability for the business to “own” the relationship (e.g. handle fulfillment, customer service).


In 2015 YouTube posted the figure of 40 billion all-time views for branded content (Source:ReelSEO) which makes it a highly desirable platform for companies to sell their products. According to Ad Age, Youtube’s TrueView for Shopping ads is a move to bring more direct-response dollars to their video service.


Current trends show that the e-commerce web traffic continues to come dominantly from organic search. The paid search traffic is declining whereas direct and email referrals are on the rise. Facebook dominates the global social generated e-commerce revenue followed by Twitter, Pinterest and email.


Have a look at the full infographic produced by SnapParcel.


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