COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on economies around the world. However, eCommerce is thriving as consumers are still wary about returning to the mall or have gotten into the habit, thanks to lockdowns, of making purchases at home.

The numbers indicate the growth in eCommerce trends during the pandemic has been unprecedented and is likely to continue. According to Forbes, in April 2020, eCommerce revenue growth rose 68% year over year compared to the previous high of 49% in January. April 21st, 2020 saw a 129% year over year increase in eCommerce orders.

With the transition of purchases from physical to online stores, marketing strategies have required a reboot. Focusing on marketing efforts online is just a start. The greatest success has been achieved with upgrading the omnichannel experience and using eCommerce data to drive consumer insights.

Although social media can be useful for generating brand awareness, accessing data where customers browse products and make purchases can give valuable insights for an effective marketing strategy.

When we collect raw data from several sources at my company, Revuze, we usually tend to separate social media data from eCommerce data. The reason behind this is that it’s easier & faster to gain insights from eCommerce data. Below I will break down the differences between social media insights and eCommerce insights and why the latter is better when looking for consumer insights.

What Is eCommerce Data?

To increase activity on your site, it is essential to use eCommerce data that tracks visitors’ behavior. This includes looking at which links were clicked on, how long visitors stayed, which pages received the most visitors, how often videos were viewed, interaction with chatbots, abandoned shopping carts, and of course sales.

Analyzing this kind of data derived from actual consumer behavior on a site or an eCommerce platform is a predictor of how visitors are likely to behave in the future. Examining the data with the hypothesis of why visitors are buying certain items or not clicking on specific links provides information about customer preferences and guidance on how to upgrade products or marketing strategy.

What Are Social Media Insights?

Social media insights are derived from observing behavior on social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. It involves reading what users are saying about a particular brand, service, or product either in status updates, hashtags, or comments. It also requires looking at Likes, Shares, Followers, and other ways in which social media users interact with your brand.

One of the most common ways marketers get consumer insights is to look at data from their social media pages. They may look at how many followers the page attracts, the number of posts, likes, shares, and comments (also known as – engagement rate). The aim is to encourage followers to share information about products or go to the site and make a purchase, or in other words, to become a brand ambassador and spread awareness.

Getting to know customers can be easy on social media because each has a name and an identity. However, the trick is how to get someone who interacts with the brand on social media to go to the platform and make purchases. It is no secret that some fans on social media can become fickle when it comes to buying.

Why Companies Think They Need Social Media Insights

Social media began as a place where people could meet others and communicate their thoughts and feelings online. With the rise of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok, it soon became clear that social media was a profitable marketing opportunity as brands rushed to establish a presence on social media platforms to attract new customers.

As of 2020, there are 3.6 billion users on social media according to Statista, and about 49% of the world’s population engages in posting, sharing, liking, following and other social media activities.

Brands that had a significant footprint before the social media boom, such as Nike, Starbucks, PopTarts, and National Geographic have increased their reach and sales thanks to these platforms. Naturally, many companies strive to replicate their success, but there are some pitfalls to a social media-heavy marketing strategy.

Social Media Strategy Pitfalls

Although social media marketing is popular and it is tempting to want to try to keep pace with Nike, the sobering truth is that social media insights are hard to track and provide a poor rate of insights compared to eCommerce insights.

Social media insights can be difficult and time-consuming to analyze because of their qualitative nature. Looking at numbers such as clicks and views from your site is much faster than reading every social media comment about your brand and parsing every conversation relevant to your product.

There is also little indication that social media consumer insights are reliable. Social media users may be bots or trolls, or may be real, but can report their experiences unreliably or have certain motives that can’t be detected.

Searches to find out who is using these platforms often receive confusing and contradictory results. For instance, one search of Twitter users indicated that the majority were over 50 and another search results showed that Twitter users were typical teenagers with a high number of users under 40.

The social media platforms provide little or no guidance on how they figure out demographics and data and instead keep all of this information for themselves for marketing purposes. You may generate followers and likes on social media, but you may be in the dark about how to use or analyze this data, and the lion’s share of the benefit goes to the social media platform.

eCommerce Is the First Priority

It is fine and even recommended that companies have a social media presence, but to benefit significantly from the eCommerce wave, the best approach is to gather data on your platform or site. Unlike social media, eCommerce data is derived from actual visitors to your site and people who are making purchases rather than those who merely hit “like.”

Retrieving data and marketing where your products are sold means that you have more control over the data which is based on real behavior rather than statements on social media. eCommerce is the best place to start a successful marketing strategy.