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Social no match for Search in Online shopping

By Rohit Ramesh on Wednesday 15th of Aug 2012

It is the Search engine which still rules the roost when it comes to online shopping despite a dramatic increase in site traffic generated by the Social media. Monetate, a marketing firm recently published a report stating that even though the Social media’s traffic contribution to online shopping sites increased by 77 percent in a year, the same is not true for sales as few users actually buy stuff.

According to the firm’s study, in terms of sales generated, the e-mail referrals and search engines are way ahead of social media. Just 2.85 percent of the online shopping traffic has been the contribution from Social media in the second quarter. But there has been a substantial increase (77 percent) from the beginning of 2011 to the beginning of this year.

Among the Social networks, it is Facebook that generates most of the traffic. But then, half of those visitors would leave the site without visiting any other page. Also, the number of customers who bought something when they stayed is less than half a percent. On the other hand, the conversion rate of Google is 2.44 percent and that of e-mail is 4.25 percent. (Conversion rate is the measurement of actual sales from traffic generated).

According to the CMO of Monetate, Kurt Heinemann, companies should be aware of the fact that the value of social media on the whole is less. Also, according to him, search is preferred by shoppers looking to buy a product. Meanwhile, he also stressed that this shouldn’t discourage companies to set store with Social media as it practically costs them nothing to make their presence felt virtually. Hence, a mixture of Social Media and search engine are necessary for an organization.

The report also had figures on the conversion rates for various devices, browsers and operating systems. Some of the prominent ones are listed below:

  1. An increasing trend (from 5.89 percent to 11.6 percent) has been observed in the use of devices like Smartphones and Tablets to browse and shop online. This, according to Heinemann is a trend that will continue to increase.
  2. However, Tablets and Desktops had higher conversion rates than Smartphones as Smartphones cannot provide all the necessary information, putting shoppers out of their comfort zone.
  3. The conversion rates of Apple’s iPad are same as that of an Android tablet despite the former having a higher percentage of traffic.
  4. In the web browser market, the share of Internet Explorer continues to fall drastically (49.37 percent to 37.5 percent in a year).

Given the immense growth of traffic generated by Social Media, it is therefore beneficial for a company to make optimum use of these media and who knows, one day they may overtake the search engines in sales generated.

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