A few years ago, retail giants (and maybe even the general public) scoffed at social media as frivolous and irrelevant to business.
Today, it's common knowledge that the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and increasingly growing networks such as Pinterest, are forces to be reckoned with in e-commerce.
Based upon Adobe's recently published Social Intelligence Report, it is these three networks in particular that are currently shaping the future of the digital marketplace.
Adobe analysts posited that Facebook is still the frontrunner in this field, dominating the share of social referred visits to retail sites.
However, Facebook is clearly not infallible as researchers found Facebook's lead has fallen by 20 percent year-over-year while Twitter has gained a whopping 258 percent in the same time frame.
Facebook's Cost-per-Click (CPC) is also down by 37 percent while the Click-through-Rate (CTR) is up 143 percent and return-on-investment is also up 53 percent.
But advertisers shouldn't be put off here as Adobe framed this as an opportunity, describing Facebook as a "more viable advertising medium" thanks to a match of lower CPC with higher CTRs.
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Nevertheless, Adobe researchers hinted that retailers and marketers need to take Twitter and Pinterest more seriously -- good advice with the busy holiday shopping season quickly approaching.
Adobe found that Twitter and Pinterest saw the biggest jumps in revenue per visitor on a year-over-year basis. Twitter alone saw a 300 percent uptick.
Tumblr also got a brief shout-out in the report with the highest sentiment ranking of all social platforms.
On that note, travel and retail also had the highest social sentiment rates, while the financial services doesn't appear to be in touch with a lot of feelings. Researchers advised these industries flailing in the social media space to take note of what travel and hospitality are doing in particular.
Overall, Adobe reflected that retail brands are getting better at connecting with customers via social media. Social engagement is up 115 percent annually. Brand-specific postings are up nine percent, with each brand post averaging 945 likes, 88 shares, and 58 comments.
For reference, Adobe's Q3 Social Intelligence Report is based upon anonymous consumer data from retail, media and entertainment, and travel websites.
That data includes 400 million unique visitors to social sites, 131 billion Facebook ad impressions, 1.04 billion Facebook posts, and 4.3 billion Facebook comments, shares, and likes.
Images via Adobe