Posted December 12, 2013 5:46 pm by with 3 comments

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Custora Mobile HolidayCyber Monday was the biggest day in e-commerce history. According to Custora, 70 million online shoppers spent over $10 billion across over 100 US-based online retailers. The end result was an 18% increase over 2012.

Mobile was a huge factor with 1 in 3 purchases coming in over a mobile device. 80% of those came in on an iPhone or iPad.

Thanksgiving was a particularly hot day for mobile shopping. Probably spurred on by all the bored people at holiday gatherings. “How long until the turkey’s ready?”

The drop-off on Cyber Monday means that most people switched out their phones for their PC’s. Probably because they did a large portion of shopping while they were at work on Monday.

Christmas? Unless Custora has a time machine, I’m guessing that’s their best estimate based on last year? In 2012, we saw a huge boost in mobile downloads on Christmas Day thanks to all those iTunes gift cards and new tech under the tree. Should be another good year for mobile ecommerce.

What wasn’t a factor? Social.

Custora says that social sites generated around 1% of the ecommerce sales on Cyber Monday. When you widen that to the entire holiday shopping season, it rises to only 2%.

custora channelsOrganic – people who found the site through an un-paid reference such as a search engine accounted for the largest chunk of sales.

Direct is a close second. These are the people who typed in the URL or visited from their own bookmarks.

Email made a nice showing with 17% of sales, up from 14% last year. CPC is also up.

Then there’s Social with a measly 2%. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s down a percent compared to last year. So retailers put more effort into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram this year and came out with fewer conversions.

This isn’t new. We see these kinds of numbers over and over again but we still cling to the believe that social media is a marketing must. I work in social media marketing so I’m not saying its worthless. I’m saying it’s great for brand recognition. It’s good for networking and community building, but it’s not the best for direct sales.

When was the last time you bought something from a photo you saw on Pinterest or a post on Facebook? Chances are you saw it, it caught your eye and you went out to the web to learn more. Maybe you looked up a DVD on Amazon – found a great price so you decided to buy it. In that scenario, Facebook led to the sale but it wasn’t directly responsible. That’s what I think is happening more often than not.

What do you think? Are your social media efforts directly or indirectly impacting your bottom line? I’d like to hear your thoughts.












  • It proves still search engine is the main driving force behind sales…..

  • Blake Andrew

    I agree that social, depending on the industry, is not good for direct sales. I have seen high conversion rates for the small amount of traffic from social though. The interesting part is the decrease from 2012 to 2013. This may somewhat coincide with Facebook, the largest social network, recently admitting the continued decrease in organic posts. Deeper anatlyic analysis could prove your theory of social being a 1st interaction contributor to conversions instead of last interaction (or otherwise I suppose). The other thing to keep in mind, aside from your branding, networking and community benefits, are how and whether social signals had an impact on organic rankings that lead to sales, or possibly another channel.

    • cynthialil

      I feel like, unless you’ve been on Facebook for awhile with alot of fans, it’s tough a road to hoe.