Last month Webtrends and Adgregate Markets published a white paper investigating “The Effect of Social Networks and the Mobile Web on Website Traffic and the Inevitable Rise of Facebook Commerce”.
The key findings and investigation undertaken to reach these findings made for an interesting read; and should encourage those with a website and a Facebook page to start analyzing traffic and behaviour on both to see which channel is engaging their visitors more effectively.
It would seem our online behaviour is changing. While user reviews within web stores, ‘independent’ blogs and forums etc. have had a big impact on e-commerce in recent years, it seems that Facebook may offer something more; the power of recommendation and trusted opinion from your friends and contacts. This is possibly more appealing as people begin to distrust (with good reason in many cases) the authenticity of product reviews scattered around the web.
What is clear based on the Webtrends & Adgregate data is that for non ecommerce sites, Facebook pages are definitely pulling traffic away from company websites. While there may be many reasons for this, I am sure the ability to interact with the business in the dynamic way Facebook enables, has a big part to play here.
When the figures were grouped into e-commerce and non e-commerce, the impact of Facebook on websites with an absence of e-commerce became more significant as the table below shows.
Although this trend is not impacting as strongly on websites with an e-commerce presence; the whitepaper predicts that this will be short-lived if Facebook is able to offer a seamless e-commerce experience.
Already Facebook commerce conversion rates are in the same range as e-commerce websites and with retailers and brands joining up to this channel and the opportunities available; the negative impact on website traffic is likely to continue to grow.
Organizations can no longer ignore the social network in favour of their website. Online traffic should be monitored; in particular the behaviour of users on their websites and social media channels to ensure the appropriate content and opportunities to engage are used on every channel.
The white paper can be viewed here.