What Role Does Facebook Play in Holiday Shopping? - eMarketer

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What Role Does Facebook Play in Holiday Shopping?

Clickthrough rates on Facebook ads for ecommerce spiked on Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day

December 18, 2014

It’s long been acknowledged that social media is more for sharing—important for top-of-funnel brand awareness and engagement—than selling. And keeping with that trend, social media did not drive very many sales this Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend. Custora reported that social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, was responsible for only 1.7% of sales.

Despite that anemic number, social media channels—Facebook and Twitter among them—are advertising platforms, and customers’ behaviors on these sites are changing as Black Friday chaos at brick-and-mortar stores spirals out of control. Instead of relying on Cyber Monday for online holiday shopping, many consumers are hunting on Black Friday, or even earlier, for online holiday deals. Nanigans, advertising automation software, looked into its user data and found that when it compared clickthrough rates (CTRs) on Facebook ads for ecommerce sites from the Monday before Thanksgiving and Black Friday, desktop CTRs jumped 36% on Black Friday. But CTRs on Facebook ads for ecommerce sites spiked most dramatically on Thanksgiving Day, up 66% when compared with the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Nanigans also reported that Facebook users who clicked through to ecommerce sites on those days were purchasing. The data showed that purchase rates from its clients’ Facebook ads increased 42% on Black Friday when compared with the purchase rates from those ads on Monday of the same week.

Facebook-referred consumers spent an average of $109.94 per order on Black Friday, according to IBM data. This was almost 10% more than purchases driven by Pinterest clickthroughs ($100.24). Adobe also found that Facebook yielded higher average order value ($114.45) than Pinterest ($93.20) and Twitter ($90.74).

Consumers’ preference for Facebook over other social media sites echoes results from last holiday season. Last year, Facebook ranked above Pinterest and Twitter as a source that influenced digital holiday purchase decisions in 2013, according to data from Baynote and the e-tailing group.

With the nature of holiday shopping changing and retailers spreading out their ad dollars over the whole season rather than cashing in all of their chips on Thanksgiving, ecommerce habits and preferences will change, too. And the nature of social media in holiday ecommerce may change with it.

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