Shoppers who arrive at online retail sites by way of Pinterest spend $168.83 on average, compared to $94.70 for Facebook and $70.84 for Twitter, according to a study released in September 2012 by RichRelevance. The report, based on data from more than 689 million shopping sessions from January 1 to August 31, 2012, finds that Pinterest trailed Facebook in average revenue per referral session ($1.60 vs. $2.50) during that time period, but has rivaled or exceeded Facebook in the past 3 months on this measure. Shoppers referred from both social networks are ahead of shoppers arriving from Twitter, whose average revenue-per-session was $0.80 during the time period.
These findings appear to contrast with data released in July 2012 by Jirafe, reported by Forbes. According to that study, which examined the behavior of 89 million online shoppers who visited Jirafe’s clients’ 5,000 online stores in the past year, average order value (AOV) for traffic from Twitter and Facebook was far higher than for Pinterest traffic. In fact, traffic from Twitter (5.3x), Google (3.45x), Facebook (2.5x), and Bing (2.1x) all had AOV’s more than twice as large as traffic from Pinterest.
Methodological differences may explain the discrepancies. The Forbes article noted that Jirafe serves only a few of the top 500 online retailers, such that Pinterest data for these larger sites may be more positive. The RichRelevance data is also based on its client base – select US sites that have deployed its retail recommendation software. That study also includes only browser-based shopping sessions and does not include shopping that may originate from mobile application versions of the platforms. It is unclear how such sessions were treated by the Jirafe study.
It is also worth noting that the AOV’s for all 3 networks covered by the RichRelevance study are higher than the Q2 AOV for all social network referrals, according to a study from Monetate that looked at 100 million online shopping experiences. That study found social shoppers’ AOV in Q2 to be $64.19, slightly higher than in Q1.
Facebook Rules in Referrals
Further details from RichRelevance’s “Shopping Insights” study indicate that when the 3 social networks are compared, Facebook accounts for the dominant share of socially driven traffic, at 86% of traffic referred by the 3 sites. Pinterest is next, at 11%, followed by Twitter, at just 3%.
The same order applies for page views per session by source, with Facebook leading the way with an average of 7, ahead of Pinterest (4.1) and Twitter (2.7).
When it comes to conversion rates by source, Facebook still leads (2.6%), although Twitter users (1.1%) appear to convert at a slightly higher rate than Pinterest users (0.9%). These figures are again higher than the average conversion rate among social network referral traffic in Q2, as seen by Monetate (0.59%).