- Google search is driving significantly more traffic to retail sites than Facebook and Instagram, according to a report business intelligence firm Oribi shared with sister publication Marketing Dive.
- Organic search on Google drove 23% of all traffic while paid search was responsible for 12%. In contrast, Facebook generated 6% of retail site visits. Instagram doubled its conversion rates — from 0.28% to 0.57% — but still spurred just 1% of retail site visits, the study found.
- A small majority of site traffic (58%) was driven by direct marketing efforts such as email and website marketing. The preliminary holiday research examined the shopping behavior of more than 17.5 million people on 512 sites from Nov. 1 to Dec. 2.
Despite the hype around social commerce, more traditional digital marketing channels including Google search and email appear to be significantly more effective in driving site visits and conversions.
Many retailers are experimenting with social shopping offers this holiday season. Instagram promoted its in-app shopping features with a 60-second holiday spot starring Celine Dion. The shoppable video shows the singer shopping Instagram's curated selection of clothes from Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Adidas and Oscar De La Renta while she sings her hit song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now."
Vistaprint debuted a branded content campaign on YouTube for the holidays that features a scrolling "Shopping Shelf," which lets viewers purchase items directly from the video. Neiman Marcus this week teamed with Vogue to create a humorous shoppable holiday video with a clickable button inviting viewers to "Shop Now."
While these efforts illustrate the opportunities of leaning into social commerce, they are not the backbone of driving sales this holiday season. The opposite appears to be true, based on Oribi's preliminary holiday results, as the more traditional marketing outreach channels are still responsible for ringing up the biggest returns.
On Instagram, the dominant platform for social commerce, conversions from ads doubled as retailers ramped up the use of promotions and coupon codes, Oribi CEO Iris Shoor said in the press release. It remains to be seen whether these social channels will pick up steam in future holiday seasons. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other popular social channels continue to incorporate shopping features to adapt to consumers' changing browsing and buying habits.