The Death of the Facebook Store Front?

Last January, fashion e-tailer Asos announced that they were opening Europe’s first Facebook store or F-Store. F-Stores were a hot pick for everyone’s 2011 trend predictions.

It’s a matter of time — within the next five or so years — before more business will be done on Facebook than Amazon
(Sumeet Jain, Principal, CMEA Capital)

Now it looks like as though we’ll need to find a new trend for 2012: Bloomberg has posted a bearish story tracing the collapse of the Facebook store front. It comes as no surprise to us; that’s just not how people use Facebook.



Facebook marketing communications are all about optimising your content for the News Feed, and not running your Facebook Page like some kind of half-baked microsite. We routinely see fewer than 1% of our Daily Active Users (DAUs) hitting the Tabs (including the Wall Tabs) of the Pages we manage or promote. The chart above shows fewer than 0.3% of clients arriving on a brand Page (generally to ask a question or register a complaint.)

Here’s a chart for another client. Client 2 has a fair amount of promotional activity pointing to their Page, so there’s a noticeably higher proportion of on-Page visits.

Look at your own Facebook Insights data again; where are you talking to your fans?

So the Bloomberg article reflects an overdue readjustment of businesses’ Facebook strategies. But this market readjustment mustn’t be taken to mean that Facebook Commerce (F-Commerce) is dead. Sure, Asos’s F-Store gets a paltry 40 DAUs and 700 MAUs at the time of writing and that number is likely to fall still further.

But Asos (who are a savvy operator, and well worth watching) probably doesn’t care; they learned early from their mistake and made changes. They now use Facebook to drive traffic into its core web store. Yesterday’s Asos Facebook promotion, for example registers over 23,000 clicks. Here’s a snapshot of the 24 hour period since 07:00 hours yesterday:

…of which the lion’s share come from Facebook. See where they posted again to catch the afternoon traffic? They went on to post again at 21:00 hours to mop up those who hadn’t already joined the campaign. That last post accounted for an incremental 6K visitors.

Facebook Commerce still looks pretty healthy from Asos’s perspective. Take a look at these results or even these.

So – the Facebook Store Front is dead, long live Facebook Commerce?

Mobile

It’s worth noting that a large share of the traffic (again looking at yesterday’s promo) comes from a mobile device.

Mobile devices don’t have a great history with Facebook Apps; and it seems that Asos prefer to send traffic direct to site (they have a well-put together mcommerce site) rather than lose those users. This is something they appear to have learned last October; their first Savvy Sunday Sale pushed traffic to a Facebook Tab, their second sale (a week later) to a Mobile sniffer.

The increasing share of mobile traffic has been a good reason to avoid F-Stores.

Should I always send my traffic out of Facebook?

In a word, no.

It’s still notably cheaper to land traffic from Facebook Ad Units within Facebook; your average cost per clicks will be lower (as much as 45% cheaper?)

So there’s a clear argument to be made for testing landing pages within Facebook for the paid traffic. Links for earned audience, however should probably point outwards to the brand’s own site.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks Matt for a well considered data-driven post that looks to deflate the hype.

    Personally, I’ve been talking to customers about how you don’t do a F-Commerce shop with the expectation that it will generate any sales but rather it’s an awareness generating tool to increase your Newsfeed reach.

    • says

      I think that — like some branded iPhone Apps — there have been many Facebook Apps where the business objective was mostly PR coverage — both for the business, and for the individual client leading that business. And like any bubble, previously sceptical onlookers are drawn as the bubble expands; they find it harder to stick to their sceptical guns in the face of so much apparent proof that the bubble will continue to expand.

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