Social Conversion Rates Climb During Covid-19

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Covid-19 has changed the social media playbook, but brands who’ve been quick to adjust are seeing social conversion rates continuing to climb.

In an analysis of data pulled from more than 120 retail websites, the digital experience solutions company Episerver found that social conversion rates have increased steadily during Covid-19 shutdowns, from 1% in April 2019 to 1.2% in April 2020.

Consumers have flocked to ecommerce websites in droves since coronavirus shutdowns went into effect. With malls and storefronts shut down across the country, digital sales rose by more than 100% in March and 275% in April. Social media continues to be a growth performer for bringing traffic to those brands’ websites, with an 89% increase from 2019, according to Episerver’s data.

“We’ve observed conversion rates from social media traffic increasing month over month for the last two years,” says Ed Kennedy, Episerver’s senior director of commerce. “Covid-19 will likely accelerate this, as consumers spend more time at home and on social media, ready to make quick online purchases.”

Overall, Episerver found that social referrer share has grown from 4.6% to 7.5% year-over-year.

The change in social referrer share is only one part of a larger shift in social media dynamics. Since the pandemic began, searches for at-home activities, like “makeup tutorial for beginners” and “kid-friendly recipes” have jumped 180% and 64%, respectively.

While retailers are working to adjust their social strategies, they’re also seeing changes in the way people shop on their sites. Somewhat surprisingly, Episerver’s data showed that average order value — which tracks the average dollar amount spent each time a customer places an order on a website or mobile app — went down in April, even as revenue on ecommerce sites went up.

In the grocery vertical, specifically, Episerver found that basket size has increased, even though traffic to grocery websites has decreased.

Based on those findings, Kennedy says it’s clear that retailers and brands need to begin optimizing every experience. As physical retail stores begin to re-open, traffic spikes will likely decline, meaning every visit is more valuable.

“If average order values don’t rebound, retailers and brands could see declining revenues through the rest of 2020,” he says.

One way for retailers to optimize each journey will be through personalized product recommendations on specific pages in the ecommerce site. Embedded personalized recommendations within triggered emails are also something that Kennedy expects to see more of in the coming year.

A stronger push into mobile is expected, as mobile data usage shows that consumers have overwhelmingly been shopping on their smartphones and tablets more frequently during the pandemic. Kennedy says he expects mobile shopping to increase in the coming year, as mobile creeps closer to 60% of all sessions.

“Some of our customers have mobile traffic over 80% or even 90% in some cases,” he says. “I expect brands and retailers to invest in Progressive Web Apps, mobile wallets, and single page web applications to improve mobile site performance, conversion rates, and overall user experience. I also expect retailers and brands to reconsider their native mobile app strategies because PWA is now able to replicate app-like experiences without the cost of building, maintaining, and promoting a stand-alone mobile shopping app.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.