Social Commerce 2019

Social Commerce 2019

How Brands Are Using Pinterest and Instagram to Take Shoppers from Inspiration to Action

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

After initially struggling to gain traction, social commerce has started to blossom. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram deliver rich visual content and added features that help shoppers discover, research and purchase a wide array of products online.

How significant is social commerce, and how fast is it growing?

Social referral to retail ecommerce sites has grown 110% in two years, outpacing all other referral channels. But it still represents a modest percentage of inbound ecommerce traffic, accounting for 9.1% in Q1 2019.

Which social media platforms are most important for driving sales?

Facebook drives the majority of social referral to ecommerce sites, but Instagram and Pinterest are the most contextually relevant platforms for social commerce. Snapchat and Twitter also factor in but lack the same scale and focus.

Which retail verticals and brands can most benefit from a social commerce strategy?

Social commerce is most relevant to lifestyle-oriented retail categories such as apparel, luxury goods, beauty and home decor. Both traditional brands and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are finding success on social channels.

What are the key elements of an effective social commerce strategy?

Brands succeeding in social commerce understand the importance of creative, brand amplification, two-way communication with their target audience, and driving customers to checkout.

How can marketers evaluate whether their strategy is working?

The easiest way to measure social commerce success is through social referral or direct checkout on social platforms. Because social shoppers’ path to purchase isn’t linear, brands should also look to measure brand engagement, intermediate steps to conversion and latent purchase behavior.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report examines the growth of social commerce, how retailers and marketers should use social media to drive sales, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies.

KEY STAT: The percentage of retailers in North America using social media as a source of ecommerce nearly doubled in a year’s time—from 17% in 2017 to 33% in 2018.

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Andrew Lipsman


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Peter Vahle
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst