Nearly a decade ago, the idea of social commerce was gaining traction. The concept was simple- people would use social media directly to purchase product or services. The assumption was the path to purchase was linear and interacting with a Brand would lead directly to a purchase. However, it never panned out. The path to purchase isn’t linear. Consumers get information from a number of sources prior to making a decision, and early on, Brand messages were often fragmented and lacked immediate action.
With the rise of visual-based platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, things started to improve. These new platforms curated content in forms that provide a more shoppable environment. Still, very little ecommerce activity could be attributed directly to a social referral. According to Adobe, social drove less than 2% of ecommerce referral as recently as 2015.
As technology has evolved around the shopping process, we are now starting to see social play a bigger role in the conversions. In fact, over the past 3 years we have seen a 120% increase in the number of online adults that have engaged in social commerce*. Today, a third of the online population has purchased a product as a result of social media.
As social media platforms continue to evolve, we expect this trend to continue.
*Our definition of social commerce is when a social media channel serves up a referral to an ecommerce site that in turn generates a purchase or it happens directly on the social media platform through a “buy” button.