Since nearly the inception of the Internet, organic search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have been the go to source for reaching consumers and driving traffic to your website. As recently as 2013, search engines provided 41% of overall visits to websites and Social Media was responsible for only 16%.
In 2014, the tables turned. During the 3rd quarter of 2014 Social Media drew even with search engines in sending referral traffic to websites. Both categories finished September in a dead heat at 29% of all referral traffic.
Statistics released at the end of January show that search engine traffic stalled and remained at 29% of all website referrals. However, Social Media continued to surge and provided websites with 31% of traffic, surpassing search engines for the first time.
Facebook was the big winner in Social Media seeing a 10% increase in referred traffic during the fourth quarter and a 60% increase for the year. Pinterest finished a distant second at 5%. However, while Facebook enjoyed an increase in traffic referred, Pinterest continued its steady decline from their high of 7% last March. At 25% of all referred traffic, Facebook is now the overwhelming leader in social referral traffic, producing 5 times the amount of visitors as Pinterest.
Over the years, and especially during 2014, our media consumption habits have changed dramatically. We rely less on home pages and search engines, discovering news pertinent to us through social media and direct messaging on mobile apps. As a platform that knows everything about us (our lives, interests and friends), Facebook dictates the news we read, and enables businesses to promote targeted messages and offers. It is now the #1 source of referrals to websites around the Internet.
Mobile usage is a primary force in driving this change in behavior. Facebook is not only the largest Social Media website with 71% of adult Americans active on its platform, it is also the dominate player in mobile!
The Facebook mobile app is the most downloaded app on both iPhone and Android. Over 69% of all smartphones and tablet users in the U.S. have installed the Facebook app. In addition, it is the most frequently used app. Americans spend more time on the Facebook mobile app than any other activity on their phones and tablets.
Facebook is the #1 activity across all age demographics as well. Here are the percentages of time spent on mobile devices that users spend on Facebook:
- 18 – 24 year-olds spend 14.8% of their time.
- 25 – 34 year-olds spend 18.5% of their time.
- 35 – 54 year-olds spend 18.4% of their time.
- And 55+ spend 16.3% of their time.
Facebook’s surge at the end of 2014 was also influenced by the re-design of their Ad Manager. As we discussed in last month’s article, Facebook Ad Manager is a serious marketing platform and set to dominate online paid advertising. Your Facebook Business Page is ideal for marketing your jewelry store, creating a desire to buy and wear jewelry as well as building your brand establishing you as a knowledgeable jeweler and the only store in which to shop. Facebook Paid Ad Campaigns through the Ad Manager has become the prime source for advertising. Here you can create campaigns designed to advertise events and specials you hold at your store as well as advertise the jewelry you wish to promote. Not only is it the top source to send traffic to your website, but also directly into your store.
What does this mean for jewelers?
These changes are not a fluke or temporary fad. They are the result of a change in behaviors. While a complete abandonment of search engines is not recommended, jewelers should look to invest more of their marketing budget in Social Media and especially Facebook since it is clearly a strong and growing source of traffic.
If you already market your jewelry store on Facebook and other Social Media platforms, begin increasing your social media marketing efforts and budget. Add Facebook Paid Advertising Campaigns to the marketing efforts you already are doing on your store’s Facebook Page. If you are currently inactive on Social Media, begin allocating more and more resources for social. The data suggests you won’t regret it.
Search Engine advertising relied heavily on the text message. The ability to write compelling ad copy interspersed with keywords was paramount. However, Social Media is a very visual platform. Content creation is the key to effective social marketing and advertising. High-quality, visually-appealing, attention-grabbing content produces outstanding results. With the vast amount of daily content in user’s newsfeeds, uninspiring content and non-visual content gets skimmed past without notice. Boring pictures of a piece of jewelry on a plain background that looks like it came from an online sales catalog will just not do it.
Jewelers need to make this shift in their marketing and advertising. Invest the time and money in graphic design programs and training, as well as the purchase of royalty free images and backgrounds. Or you need to hire a marketing firm that specializes in content creation for retail jewelry stores as well as an understanding of Social Media Marketing and Advertising.
Brad Simon is co-owner of Internet 4 Jewelers and specializes in Social Media Marketing, and Mobile Message Marketing exclusively for retail jewelry stores. They are dedicated to Making Social Media Simple and Affordable for Every Jeweler, and provide Content Packages for jewelry stores doing their own marketing, as well as Affordable Full-Service Social Media Management and Facebook Ad Campaign Management. For more information you can contact Brad at 864-680-4416 or Brad@Internet4Jewelers.com or visit their website at www.Internet4Jewelers.com.