Social Commerce 2019

How Brands Are Using Pinterest and Instagram to Take Shoppers from Inspiration to Action

About This Report
Social commerce is on the rise as visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram fill a need for product discovery. By developing an effective social commerce strategy, brands and retailers can drive awareness, affinity, consideration and conversion.

Executive Summary

After initially struggling to gain traction, social commerce has started to blossom. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram deliver rich visual content and added features that help shoppers discover, research and purchase a wide array of products online.

How significant is social commerce, and how fast is it growing?

Social referral to retail ecommerce sites has grown 110% in two years, outpacing all other referral channels. But it still represents a modest percentage of inbound ecommerce traffic, accounting for 9.1% in Q1 2019.

Which social media platforms are most important for driving sales?

Facebook drives the majority of social referral to ecommerce sites, but Instagram and Pinterest are the most contextually relevant platforms for social commerce. Snapchat and Twitter also factor in but lack the same scale and focus.

Which retail verticals and brands can most benefit from a social commerce strategy?

Social commerce is most relevant to lifestyle-oriented retail categories such as apparel, luxury goods, beauty and home decor. Both traditional brands and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are finding success on social channels.

What are the key elements of an effective social commerce strategy?

Brands succeeding in social commerce understand the importance of creative, brand amplification, two-way communication with their target audience, and driving customers to checkout.

How can marketers evaluate whether their strategy is working?

The easiest way to measure social commerce success is through social referral or direct checkout on social platforms. Because social shoppers’ path to purchase isn’t linear, brands should also look to measure brand engagement, intermediate steps to conversion and latent purchase behavior.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report examines the growth of social commerce, how retailers and marketers should use social media to drive sales, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies.

KEY STAT: The percentage of retailers in North America using social media as a source of ecommerce nearly doubled in a year’s time—from 17% in 2017 to 33% in 2018.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Social Commerce Overview
  3. Brands and Social Commerce
  4. Elements of a Social Commerce Strategy
  1. Social Commerce Measurement and Optimization
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Jason Goldberg
Chief Commerce Strategy Officer
Interviewed October 12, 2018
Aaron Goldman
4C Insights
Interviewed April 26, 2019
Zvika Goldstein
Chief Product Officer
Interviewed April 10, 2019
Apu Gupta
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed February 14, 2019
Toto Haba
Senior Vice President, Global Digital
Benefit Cosmetics
Interviewed October 15, 2018
Vishal Shah
Head of Product
Interviewed May 6, 2019
Rachel Tipograph
CEO and Founder
Interviewed April 9, 2019
Tim Weingarten
Head of Shopping Product
Interviewed March 4, 2019
Tania Yuki
CEO and Founder
Interviewed April 4, 2019
Douglas Hoggatt
Vice President, Digital Marketing
Interviewed March 26, 2019

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Andrew Lipsman


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast