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Saturday, September 14 • 4:46pm - 6:30pm
“The Influence of Social Media on E-Commerce Sites”

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This research studies the influence that social media sites have on the behavior of online customers (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). This research combines information from three different approaches that were used to study how social media sites are used by online stores to help increase their sales: 1) Google Analytics 2) Crazy Egg, and 3) an online Survey. 

Google Analytics was used to collect data from three online stores (e.g., two apparel stores and an educational store). The data was used to determine the path that customers used to arrive at the online stores. Using data only from those customers who completed a transaction, we compared the revenue generated by traffic from Twitter and Facebook to the revenue generated from other traffic (e.g., search engines, online ads, customer typed URLs and other sources). While we found that revenue generated from search engines was approximately four times higher than typed URLs, online ads, Twitter and Facebook, we also found that revenue generated from Twitter traffic was increasing. On the other hand, our findings also showed that traffic from search engines and Facebook seems to have plateaued. 

In addition to using Google Analytics to understand customer traffic, we also used Crazy Egg to collect event-actions (e.g., button presses) for more webpage specific details. In particular, we were interested in knowing how often customers clicked on an online stores’ social media buttons (e.g., for Facebook and Twitter). Crazy Egg and Google Analytics were enabled on the same online stores, with overlapping time frames. The Crazy Egg data indicated that customers only used the online store’s social media buttons (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) about 1% of the time. This may be due to the presence of competing features such as, the “contact us” and “about us” on-site links, and live Twitter and Facebook feeds which provide similar information to the stores’ actual Twitter and Facebook sites. As well, we found that the Twitter and Facebook buttons were used less often than the “contact us” and “about us” buttons at 2%. 
In addition, we conducted an online survey in order to capture the opinions and attitudes of customers on social media use (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram), their tendencies to follow stores online, and their tendencies to visit the online store’s social media sites. We had 189 participants complete the survey. We found that all participants personally used at least one social media site, approximately 69% of the participants followed stores online using social media (Facebook and Twitter being the most common) and used these sites to look for offers, product information, and read reviews from other customers and the online store’s owner. The survey also showed that 47% of participants reported they had used social buttons while on an online store, which was much higher than the results found from Crazy Egg. 

In this paper, we will present the results of these three approaches in more detail and discuss the implications of these results. Finally, we will provide some suggestions on how online stores can enhance their social media presence to improve their online transactions. 


Elham Alghamdi

Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University, Canada

Keith Lawson

Dalhousie University, Canada

Bonnie MacKay

Dalhousie University, Canada

Saturday September 14, 2013 4:46pm - 6:30pm EDT
Rowe Atrium

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