Recent news surrounding Facebook's IPO and GM pulling its ads from the social network, and today's headline that Google+ has yet to make a significant impact on search campaigns, were given additional perspective with Shopify's claim yesterday that Pinterest drives more sales than any social network or search engine. Yes, search engine -- as in Google, Yahoo!, Bing -- and more than e-commerce monolith Amazon too (see above graphic).
Social commerce findings should always be taken with a grain of salt. Context is vital here, as everybody knows Pinterest does not drive more overall sales revenue than each of the big three search engines and Amazon. Pinterest users, however, spend an average of $80 per order, which exceeds the average order generated by each of the websites listed in the above graphic. This graphic is an excerpt of the larger infograhic created by Shopify.
"It’s easy to see how Pinterest is better for shopping than Facebook," wrote Devon Glenn of SocialTimes.com. "On Pinterest, images of products aren’t a nuisance or an invasion of privacy, but part of the fun. When you’re shopping for something, searching on Pinterest is like walking through a mall with clearly marked aisles and a catalog in hand. When you just want ideas for something you might buy later or make yourself, no one is there to pressure you to buy now."
Intent is the main differentiator here. Glenn makes a good point: Pinterest users are in more of a shopping mindset than Facebook users, whose motivation is to socialize (...and "creep"). Aside from Amazon, Pinterest is the most e-commerce oriented of all the sites examined. And one could presume that based on the broad variety of products available on Amazon, its average purchase price would be lower than those made on Pinterest.
Specific sample size. Pinterest demographics have been thoroughly documented to date and users are predominantly Midwestern, upper income women aged 18-34. Based on these traits alone, it's clear that Pinterest users as a whole are more likely to be a) shopping online and b) spending more on clothing, cosmetics, accessories, and luxury goods than would a typical user of Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or Twitter.
And all of the purchases considered in this study were Shopify purchases, which narrows the field even more.
So yeah, take this news with a grain of salt.