Facebook storefronts might not never take off, but at least social media is finally earning its keep in other ways. A new study from Adobe offers definitive data proving that social media referrals do, in fact, drive sales.
Consumers who arrive at a retailer’s e-commerce site via either a social media referral or a straight-up ad are, it turns out, more likely to make a purchase. And the amount they’re buying is growing. Interestingly, the numbers are consistent between both friend referrals and paid advertising. People coming in from Twitter, for instance, spent an average of 44 cents last month, as opposed to 11 cents at the same time a year ago. Those shoppers show up through both friends’ tweets and promoted posts. (Guess we’re not seeing sponsored posts disappear anytime soon.)
By the way, Facebook, which has been regarded as the biggest failure when it comes to translating online media clicks into purchases, is actually leading the numbers, over Pinterest and Twitter, in that order. Facebook-referred shoppers spent an average of 87 cents last month (up from 67 cents a year ago).
Of course, this increase in effective social media referrals would be a moot point if retailers weren’t improving their actual e-commerce experiences. Recent trends have seen brands prioritize digital spending on streamlining online retail and mobile commerce, diverting attention away from social media investment. Without cutting back on online media all together, this strategy seems like a wise way to go. Brands: keep gunning for “likes” — they’re actually worth something.