It’s a marketing paradox: e-commerce website traffic for search, social, and advertising are down 10%, 39% and 41%, respectively, but the revenue generated from these three channels has increased over the past year. This, according to research presented in Monetate’s EQ1 2014 report, suggests that the purpose of website traffic is changing.

While consumers used to visit a brand’s website to browse for items and conduct research on potential purchases, now they visit with the intention of buying a specific item, the research shows. Increasingly, mobile and social-media-savvy consumers are finding noncommercial ways to interact with brands and learn about new products, and then turn to the ecommerce site when ready to buy.

In particular, image-driven sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram organically expose consumers to a brand’s products — and often direct traffic to the ecommerce site. On Pinterest, for example, 80% of brand engagements happen outside of official brand accounts.

In addition, the report indicates that “traditional” online devices (desktop computers and laptops) are still most frequently used for online purchases, but mobile devices allow for increased engagement with a brand via social media and other online channels. The use of mobile devices for purchasing is also increasing, especially in European countries like the UK and Germany.

Although developing a brand’s presence on social media and other online channels is important to driving website traffic and revenue, Monetate’s report suggests that optimizing the ecommerce experience should come first. By creating a user-friendly site that works for all devices (desktop, tablet, and smartphone) and links to social media sites like Pinterest, brands can continue to engage with mobile customers and increase sales.

For more information on the transition from browsing to buying, view the original report from Monetate here.




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