Before you read any further, go check your inbound referral traffic reports. Surprised to see how much website traffic is coming from social networks?

Even if you’ve been on top of this trend, the speed at which traffic patterns are changing means you’re going to have to think fast about how to stop important metrics like average order value and conversion rate from plummeting—or at least figure out how to explain what’s going on to your management team. In a minute, I’ll get into some data that point to this challenge. For now, let me tell you about the source of this ecommerce insight.

I’m excited to announce that later this month Monetate will be releasing our first-ever report comprised of anonymized data and analysis from the website traffic of over 100 online retailers. More than half of these companies appear in the Internet Retailer 500. Scheduled to be published quarterly, the report will include commentary on trends that could have a significant impact on your business.

For instance, when looking at data regarding inbound referral traffic—specifically the increases from websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Twitter—what stood out were the drastically lower performance benchmarks that are so important to online retailers.

Let’s take a closer look at some ongoing analysis that covers April to date (Q2 2012).

Although 81% of the traffic from Facebook viewed at least one product detail page, almost half of the visitors bounced (48%), leaving the website without going any further than one page. Of those who did stick around, only 2.7% added a product to a cart and just 0.61% converted to a sale.

Some additional metrics of website visitors coming from Facebook include a 77% cart abandonment rate and 6.4 page views per session.

So how does this rank against Google? After all, it’s just a matter of time until search engine traffic is completely replaced by traffic from social networks, right? You better hope not!

While only 55% of visitors from Google viewed a product, the websites in our report experienced just a 25% bounce rate. Visitors from Google had an add-to-cart rate of 6.5% and converted at slightly better than 2%. Lastly, shoppers from Google had a 66% cart abandonment rate and viewed 10 pages per session.

Clearly, visitors from Facebook are not in a ready-to-buy state. Consumers may be interested that a friend “Liked” a product or linked to it in a post, but that doesn’t guarantee they will be some of your best customers.

To make sure you get a copy of the first report containing additional data, analysis and charts, send me an email ( or simply follow @Monetate on Twitter.