According to a new white paper from Webtrends, Facebook stores now have the same sales conversion rates as e-commerce Web sites. "The Effect of Social Networks and the Mobile Web on Website Traffic and the Inevitable Rise of Facebook Commerce" was created in conjunction with Adgregate Markets, a leader in distributed Web commerce that creates Facebook storefronts for its customers.
Findings from the report indicate that e-commerce may be one of the factors protecting Web sites from the influence of Facebook:
- Among the 44 companies examined, 18 of them (about 40%) exhibited extremely high traffic to their Facebook page compared to their Web sites. Not only were their Web sites accounting for fewer unique visits than Facebook, but many were also showing a decline in visits over a three-month period.
- Of the 22 categorized as 'Non-E-commerce', 13 companies (about 65%) received more unique visits to their Facebook page versus their Web site:
- Two companies that exhibited extremely high Facebook traffic were Coca-Cola and Walt Disney:
- Of the 22 companies that offer e-commerce transactions, only five exhibited promising Facebook trends, while the rest (about 77%) had very consistent traffic to their Web sites. Even though these sites currently fare better than Facebook, their future growth is questionable since many have started to experience significant drops in unique visits compared to last year:
The report's found that while many Facebook stores have a nascent operating history, several important trends are emerging:
- Facebook stores are efficient at acquiring visitors cheaply through wall posts, with post-launch wall posts generating on average 1,673% spikes in store traffic.
- One month after store launch, the base level of traffic equals 1 to 10% of fan base.
- Facebook stores on average generate a 17% social engagement rate (merchandise "likes" and "shares" per visitor).
- Facebook stores generated on average Earned Media Reach to friends of fans equal to 25% of fan base. (Earned Media Reach is defined as additional reach to friends of fans through fan activity within a store, e.g. when visitors "like" and "share" products.).
- Facebook stores generated on average 5.9 pages views per visit.
- Facebook store dwell times average 2:50 per visit, growing 50% over the last three months.
- Facebook commerce conversion rates range from 2% to 4% and are on par with e-Commerce Web sites. (avg. 3.4%, according to Forrester/Shop.org).
So the game is no longer about the comforts of your Web site's 'Walled Garden', but about the risks and rewards of arriving on the social network. Read the full report to see all of its conclusions, including the fact that social and mobile networks will dominate the online traffic landscape in a big way, decreasing traffic to content as well as e-Commerce Web sites.