Facebook Is Top Dog in Social Commerce

When it comes to making money on social media channels, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is the king. But when it comes to how much the average customer orders, the social media giant slips down to fourth place among social media platforms, says new research.

Social commerce platform Shopify analyzed data from its customers from its third quarter of 2013 to see which social media platforms earned the most for their customers. When it came to overall sales, Facebook was the clear leader of the pack, with about 85 percent of customers reaching Shopify clients via Facebook. But when it came to how much the average customer ordered, fashion and style social platform Polyvore, photo-sharing outlet Instagram, and scrapbooking website Pinterest all outsold Facebook.

Shopify is an online business that allows users to build online stores for their businesses, using Shopify as a platform, template source, and tech support for their site. Companies pay a monthly fee, ranging from $29 to $179, for the service. Well-known clients include Tesla Motors, General Electric, and the Foo Fighters.

Using social media to drive commerce is a common marketing practice. Many companies create their own social media pages to feature products and services.  They also get customer feedback in real time as users post comments on company pages. Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform for this purpose and also for social media advertising. Facebook makes most of its money from advertising revenue, so the fact that the social media giant drives so much social commerce traffic is hardly a surprise.

Facebook especially shines when it comes to photography, sports and recreation, and pet supply sales. Shopify names these as Facebook’s top three referral categories. Drop shipping and jewelry round out the top five.

Many social media platforms also incentivize using their particular outlet for advertising and marketing purposes. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram all use sponsored content. Pinterest is in the midst of building this type of content, making the sponsored pin a near-future entry in into the sponsored post category. Even in the midst of all this competition to be the social commerce platform of choice, Facebook continues to dominate, likely because of the decade-old social media outlet’s popularity.

Shopify’s research also showed that other social media outlets have their own specialties in certain categories. Pinterest leads the antiques category. Google-owned YouTube nabs much of the digital products, services, and merchandise categories. Twitter comes in with 18 percent of home and office furnishings orders.

Despite these results, Shopify recommends that businesses use more than one social media platform to reach out to more customers. Many companies already practice this, with many having Facebook and Twitter accounts minimally. Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts are also commonly used by businesses.

Marking publication eMarketer summarized Shopify’s recommendations in the following statement: “So, while Facebook was the clear leader, marketers may fare well when using secondary platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter in conjunction with their Facebook page, Shopify suggested.”

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