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Validation that Social is Driving Commerce

Much has been made this year about the rise of Social Commerce.  Retailers have seized upon the opportunity to tap into the social network "amplification" effect, to capitalize on the viral word of mouth potential.   This holiday season the social marketing activity has taken on a fever pitch, with the majority of retailers publicizing their holiday deals, and in some cases offering social-only offers, through Facebook and Twitter.  This begs the question, how much of the online shopping this season can been correlated to social activity?

In a previous post we mentioned that late Thanksgiving night / early Black Friday morning was the traffic peak of the holiday shopping weekend thus far, shifting the peak traffic time frame for Black Friday from the afternoon to the early morning hours.  In years prior, it was midday on Black Friday. 
If you compare social networking traffic directly to retail traffic over the two day period of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, you can see that both peak at exactly the same point in time.  This can mean one of two things: users were driven online to shop and therefore also tempted to check their social networks, or users were online and using their social network specifically for deal and product research purposes to support their online shopping.  Either way, social is clearly influencing - and sharing the mindshare - of online shoppers.

Social Networking Traffic (North America)
Thanksgiving and Black Friday

SN Traffic.PNG

Retail Traffic (North America)
Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Retail Traffic.PNG

Lelah Manz is Chief Strategist, Commerce for Akamai