Which Social Media Platform Dominates for E-commerce?

which social media platform DOMINATES graphic

Well this is interesting…

The race for the “best” social media platform continues. And just to be clear, my version of “best” means the one that drives the most sales and puts money in your pocket. It’s not just about collecting LIKES and Followers and building relationships. In the end, we add up the sales.

I have to admit I was pretty surprised to see the latest results.

Based on past performance, I assumed a few things.

  • I assumed Pinterest had the highest order value. No – dead wrong.
  • I assumed there’s no good way to know what the heck Instagram drives due to lack of hot links. Wrong again.
  • I assumed Facebook drove the most total sales. Yes – gold star for me.

The vast majority of e-commerce sales are driven by Facebook (85%). That number goes as high as 98% in industries where Facebook dominates, like photography, sports & rec, and pet supplies. Pet supplies? Go figure.

There are industries where Facebook doesn’t dominate.

  • Antiques and Collectibles: 74% of orders come from Pinterest
  • Digital Products: 47% of orders come from YouTube
  • Electronics and Appliances: 31% of sales come from Reddit

The biggest surprise for me was which platform had the highest average order value. I assumed it was Pinterest as it has been for a few years.

Highest average order value

#1: Polyvore with $66.75
#2: Instagram with $65
#3: Pinterest with $59
#4: Facebook with $55

Infographic from Shopify

Polyvore has the highest order value!?? Who knew? What I find amazing is that all of these sales are driven by what seems to be an incredibly low conversion rate. Designers ask me all the time what % of visitors to their site should be converting to a sale and they’re always surprised to hear the actual numbers.

Check out this infographicabout conversion rates.

conversion rate shopify
infographic from Shopify

In my experience, it’s easier to get a sale by driving traffic to my site then selling later, particularly through my email list. But Mark Zuckerberg feels that selling directly from social media is about to get HUGE.

“If I had to guess, (I’d say) social commerce is next to blow up.”  -Mark Zuckerberg

Instagram and Pinterest have recently added BUY buttons to their platforms. I keep getting ads about adding a Facebook shopping feature to my Page – something they’ve tried to do for years without much success. But as users continue to use their mobile devices, I’d have to agree that shopping directly from social media will gain traction.

In many ways, it’s just easier. We’re all getting more comfortable shopping online and if we can skip the step of clicking away from social to a separate site, then why not? (For more info on social media for e-commerce, check out this article (the infographics are awesome) and this page from Statista.)

So what does this mean for your business? I think it means you cannot ignore social media. And you can’t be help-pregnant using it. It’s time to be ALL IN.

And if you’re one of those people who say things like, “I hate Facebook, I don’t care what people had for lunch”, then you’re ignoring a platform that’s driving a huge amount of sales for a huge amount of businesses.

How do you know which platform to focus on? That depends on a number of things but to keep it simple, just ask yourself this ONE question:

Where does my “perfect customer” spend their time online?

Go there. Easy as that.

If your people are on Twitter – tweet it up. If they love Pinterest, get your booty over there. If you’re nor sure where they hang out online, ask them! Send out a quick survey and see what happens.

Now it’s YOUR turn. What’s the platform you spend the MOST time on for your business? Bonus points for WHY you chose it and if it’s working for you. Leave me a comment below, will ya?

This is a FASCINATING topic and I’d love to hear your opinion on things – stop lurking and join the conversation!

As always, thanks for reading!




6 Responses

  1. Jane, the social medias I enjoy the most are Twitter and Instagram. Twitter mostly because I am able to connect and nourish a relationship with professionals that I can collaborate with in the future (bloggers, wedding planners, stylists). I love twitter chats as well! Instagram is fun and purely visual, although lately i’m also trying to tell our brand story posting our own ‘quotes’ and ‘philosophy’ and I found that it does attract more likes then just posing random pictures. At my stage (pre launch) I am not spending money on boosting Facebook posts yet, because I want to wait to have a product ready to sell to make the most of my investment. But I have been tempted to try a boost or two.. it is annoying to see that if you don’t pay, posts are hardly seen even by your followers!

    1. Thanks for your input, Daniela. I’m going to take another look at Twitter Chats! I agree Facebook can be frustrating but once you re-classify what to use it for, it can work VERY well to reach your audience.

  2. Thanks Jane for a great article. You’ve just blown my mind – I hadn’t even heard of Polyvore!! (Is it OK to confess that here?!) I’m off to do some serious digging… For the moment though Twitter is great for instant connection and I’ve just started with Instagram. I’m enjoying the purely visual aspect of it and connecting with a new universe of individuals, brands, causes. (And I’d agree with the Facebook comment above – for those of us with limited budgets, it’s ‘role’ would appear to be changing but clearly not in terms of sales!)

    1. OF COURSE you can confess that here! Polyvore is very strong for some niches and not important at all for other entrepreneurs. I’d love to hear what you think about it! I like how you put it – the role of social media – “connecting with a new universe of individuals, brands, causes.” You have a TERRIFIC attitude about it. Those who go into it saying only, “how can I get sales out of this ASAP” will fail.

  3. Hi all!
    I find I get a few pins from Pinterest but they always go on peoples “to be copied” type boards:-( They just want to use my ideas, not buy them!!!
    I’ve read a lot of good things about Instagram sales and how folks are selling directly from there. Fox and Fawn (foxandfawn) and The Design Studio Hawarden (thedesignstudiohawarden) are good examples of this. (I can’t remember where I found them, maybe you, Jane) Anyhow, I plan on following their lead at some point. I love Instagram for connecting with all sorts of folks that could become customers – it’s a dynamic group.
    Good luck everyone,

  4. Jane, thanks for this great info!!! I am still determining my perfect customer. I was doing a search on facebook to see who shops there:) I will check out the article on social media for ecommerce.

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