As expected, mobile played a big role in this year’s Black Friday sales. Mobile traffic to retail websites grew by 67 percent and mobile sales were more than 16 percent — up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
The bad news? Social media contributed practically nothing. An IBM study found that shoppers referred from Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube generated only 0.34 percent of online sales. That’s a decrease of more than 35 percent from last year.
It gets worse. Twitter, which offered small businesses free advertising for the holiday season, contributed nothing at all, coming in at zero percent. It’s almost hard to believe that not a single person clicked a referral link from Twitter, but at the same time, it’s not. Last year, the social network pulled in only 0.2 percent.
Although social networks weren’t used for deal discovery, shoppers still turned to social media to talk about their purchases. According to the report, shoppers expressed positive sentiment on promotions, shipping, and convenience, as well as the retailers themselves at a three to one ratio.
And with so much hype and urgency around Black Friday, it’s very likely that consumers went directly to retailers’ websites instead of waiting around on social media sites. Don’t let these findings deter you from using it — social media is a great way to promote awareness. With only 28 shopping days left until Christmas, we expect that many consumers will turn to the medium for gift ideas and deals.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.