Search vs. Social vs. Direct: Mobile Commerce Traffic Sources Compared

October 2, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Mobile Phone | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Search Engine Optimization | Social Media | Tablet

Monetate-Mobile-Commerce-Benchmarks-by-Traffic-Source-in-Q2-Oct2014Direct-to-site customers represent the most valuable mobile commerce traffic segment, details Monetate in its latest quarterly report covering Q2 e-commerce activity. This segment – which accounted for a majority of mobile commerce traffic – sported a conversion rate more than twice the rate of search-referred mobile visitors (0.9% vs. 0.41%). But search and social have their own bright spots.

Mobile search referred more than 40% of traffic to mobile commerce sites, and this traffic had the lowest bounce rate (39%) of the three segments. But, search’s average revenue per session ($0.46) was less than half the comparable figure for direct-to-site customers ($1.04).

Of course, mobile search-referred traffic’s revenue-per-session was still far ahead of socially-referred mobile visitors, whose per-session revenue was a paltry $0.14. Socially-referred visitors also fared poorly in terms of conversion rates: just 0.12% converted. The rare bit of good news regarding this segment is that its average order value ($106.12)  grew by 8% year-over-year to become the highest of the 3 segments, albeit only slightly above the others (~$105).

Despite that, Monetate’s analysis concludes that “social customers don’t seem interested in shopping,” considering that their add-to-cart rate is just 0.63% and they average only 2 page views per visit (versus more than 4 for direct and search).

The report doesn’t examine email-referred mobile visitors, although research has suggested that email is the traffic source for up to 60% of smartphone conversions. But in looking at e-commerce site visits overall (from smartphones, tablets and desktops), the study shows that email continues to decline as a e-commerce traffic driver. In fact, email referred fewer than 1% of visitors to the e-commerce sites tracked in Q2, less than affiliate sites (1.04%) and social (2.3%). Email traffic also had the lowest average order value of the 5 sources measured (advertising, affiliate sites, search, social, and email). Previous reports from Monetate have revealed, however, that email traffic converts at a higher rate than social or search traffic.

For primary research into the first step in email engagement, the email open, see MarketingCharts’ latest Debrief, “Why Consumers Open Brand Emails.”

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