Search Still Drives More E-Commerce Traffic, Higher Order Values Than Email, Social

Monetate-Ecommerce-Traffic-Share-by-Source-Q42011-Q42012-Feb2013Search engines still dwarf email and social media as an e-commerce traffic driver, per Monetate’s latest e-commerce report [download page] covering Q4 2012 activity. 32% of e-commerce site visits in Q4 came from search, compared to 4.3% from email and just 1.9% from social media. In fact, Q4 marked the third consecutive quarter that social media’s influence waned, falling from 2.7% share of visits in Q1 2012, and lending credence to a recent PwC assertion that social media is unlikely to soon become an important retail sales channel.

The Monetate data aligns closely with recent figures from Adobe, which found social contributing just 2% of e-commerce site traffic during the holiday season, and search about one-third share of traffic.

Traffic from search engines also tends to have a larger average order value (AOV) than the other sources analyzed by Monetate. In Q4, AOV from search was $97.54, about 9% higher than from email ($89.64) and roughly 40% higher than from social ($69.46).

The only area in which search got outperformed by another source was in conversion rate, where email (4.71%) was the top performer, ahead of search (3.48%) and social (0.96%). Despite social media traffic lagging in conversion rate, it’s Q4 2012 figure of 0.96% represented a 60% year-over-year improvement.

About the Data: Monetate’s E-commerce Quarterly analyzes a random sample of over 100 million online shopping experiences using “same store” data across each calendar quarter. Averages throughout the EQ are calculated across the entire sample. Key performance indicators, such as average order value and conversion rate, will vary by industry/market type. These averages are published only to support the analysis in each release of the EQ, and are not intended to be benchmarks for any e-commerce business.