Online Retailers Not Yet Winning Battle for SocNet Referral Traffic

July 23, 2012

marketlive-referral-traffic-from-socnets-q22012-july2012.pngSocial networks aren’t yet providing a signficant share of traffic to the online retailers who are part of the MarketLive Performance Index, finds MarketLive [download page] in a July report covering Q2 2012. Retailers only acquired 1.16% of their traffic via social networks, down more than 15% from 1.37% in Q2 2011. This finding follows a recent report from IBM, which found that shoppers referred from social networks accounted for 1.3% of all online retail traffic during Q2, a small increase from 1.1% the previous quarter. Even so, shoppers referred to retail sites from social networks generated just 1.9% of all online sales, down from 2.4% in Q1.

Meanwhile, according to the MarketLive report, social network referrals to the full slate of online merchants who make up the MarketLive Performance Index accounted for just 1.04% share of traffic in Q2, though that was up modestly from 1% a year earlier. By contrast, search engines accounted for 38.7% share of traffic, relatively flat from Q1. A recent report from Monetate covering Q1 2012 also found search engines to dominate social networks in terms of referral traffic to e-commerce sites.

Visits, Revenue See Significant Growth Y-O-Y

Meanwhile, data from “The MarketLive Performance Index Vol. 19” indicates revenue among year-over-year online merchants (those that could be examined on a same-site comparison basis) increased 15% compared to Q2 2011, while visits increased more than 8.5%. Conversion (+4.94%) and engagement (+2.5%) rates were both up, to 4.48% and 10.80%, respectively, while abandonment rate dropped 3% to 59.47%. Tempering this success was a 10% increase in the “1 and out” rate, which grew to almost 38%, meaning that close to 2 in 5 visitors left the websites after viewing a single page.

The performance was more mixed when it came to the average of all sites (not on a same-site comparison basis). While conversion rates increased by 2.34%, to 4.38%, and the cart abandonment rate dropped 2.44% to 59.66%, the engagement rate dropped 1.2% to 10.66%, and the percentage of “1-and-out” visits grew 3.55% to 37.61%. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, all metrics showed a negative trend.

Other Findings:

  • While catalogers saw a 127% increase (from 0.37% to 0.84%) in share of traffic referred from social networks, brand manufacturers experienced a 31% decrease (from 2.7% to 1.86%).
  • Average order size among index merchants during Q2 2012 was $128.29, representing a marked 14% drop from $148.97 in Q1. Average order size was highest for housewares and furniture sites ($176.79), and lowest for brand manufacturers ($79.24).
  • Average revenue per visit was $5.38, down from $5.74 the previous quarter.
  • The average customer viewed 11.1 pages per visit.
  • 61% of index sites had reviews.

About the Data: The MarketLive quarterly report examined Q2 performance data from more than 100 retail sites.

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