Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr drove an unprecedented amount of traffic to retail sites in Q4 2013 with revenue-per-visit (RPV) increasing across all social channels.

However, Pinterest is taking swift advantage of Facebook’s slowing growth by achieving a 50% quarter-over-quarter increase in RPV. 

That’s not to say that Facebook didn’t end 2013 in a big way. In fact it broke multiple records as per usual.

These findings come from Adobe’s recently released social intelligence report for Q4 2013. The report reveals an otherwise massive end of year for Facebook with click-through-rate (CTR) up 365% year-over-year and 41% quarter-over-quarter.

This follows another recent report from Kenshoo revealing that Facebook ads drove a 60% increase in sales revenue in the same quarter.

However, as stated at the top of the page, things are certainly not all rosy for Facebook, with other social media networks asserting their positions and overtaking Facebook in key areas.

Let’s take a closer look at the report.


Other than CTR, here are the other areas that Facebook achieved gains in Q4 2013.

  • Cost-per-click (CPC) rose 29% during the holiday season.
  • Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) is up 437% year-over-year and 51% quarter-over-quarter.
  • CPC, CTR, and CPM are all up in Europe and U.K.
  • Facebook ad click volume is up 125% year-over-year.
  • Facebook ad impressions volume is up 10% year-over-year.


Perhaps even more impressive are Facebook’s engagement numbers.

  • Social engagement with brand posts is up 180% year-over-year.
  • Comments and shares are up 40% year-over-year.
  • Brand post impressions are up 150% year-over-year.
  • Posts with images are up 10% and posts with links, text, or video are all down.
  • Posts with images produce a 650% higher engagement rate than regular text posts.

Of course we’re now in Q1 2014, a quarter in which Facebook has announced major news feed changes that are certainly affecting all brands’ presence on Facebook. 

Posts from pages will deliberately be pushed down the news feed to make room for more personal content from the friends the user engages with the most. This does make sense, after all it is a social network first and foremost, however I would argue that if a user has chosen to ‘like’ a brand page then they have chosen to actively interact with that brand and will expect regular posts from it.

2014 will see the numbers for brand post impressions drop significantly as well as social engagement figures.

It is interesting to see that Facebook has a bias towards posts containing images rather than links or other media. Perhaps this is a lesson for brands and companies wishing to keep their Facebook pages alive.

The challengers

Here are the social revenue per visit (RPV) stats for the US:

  • Facebook: up 72% year-over-year and 31% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Twitter: up 131% year-over-year and 84% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Pinterest: up 244% year-over-year and 69% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Tumblr: up 340% year-over-year and 38% quarter-over-quarter.

Tumblr is showing the most impressive improvement year-on-year and almost caught up with Facebook’s RPV in the last quarter.

Facebook is still improving year-on-year however Pinterest passed Facebook’s RPV in the UK in 2013 and is expected to do the same in the US in 2014.

Twitter’s RPV is also up an impressive 63% quarter-over-quarter.

Socially referred traffic

Facebook still refers the most traffic but is down year-on-year, whereas Twitter is growing the fastest with 18% growth share quarter-over-quarter.

  • Facebook's share of referred visits is down 15% year-over-year and only up slightly 2% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Twitter's share of referred visits is up 125% year-over-year and 18% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Pinterest's share of referred visits is up 89% year-over-year and 11% quarter-over-quarter.

Both Pinterest and Twitter are improving dramatically in terms of referring traffic to retail sites and as Facebook continues to decline, it may not just be Pinterest that overtakes Facebook for RPV.

Pinterest should definitely be a part of any social marketing strategy, if for no other reason than Pinterest users tend to spend more. Pinterest shoppers in the US spend an average of between $140-$180 per order, compared to Facebook and Twitter shoppers who spend on average $60-$80.

For more on Pinterest, check out how small businesses can make the most of Pinterest and how retailers can use Pinterest to drive sales.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 29 January, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)



hey - great post, but there is a broken link here:

"news feed changes"

over 4 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

Well spotted. Thank you, all changed. It should link here now - http://econsultancy.com/blog/64081-how-facebook-news-feed-changes-will-affect-your-brand

over 4 years ago



Massively impressed by Pinterest's growth. We knew it was good but not this good.

What more proof do companies need that spending some real time on Pinterest is worth it? It's more than just pictures

Thanks for breaking the report down

over 4 years ago


Stephan Jaeckel E-Business Consultant

Pinterest is still being ignored by too many companies and some who use it totally fail in doing it right, meaning: catching interest and driving traffic to landing-pages and microsites where revenue can be generated or various forms of customer generation/retention take place.

While Asia and India is flooded with Pinterest Clones and businesses there will have a hard time getting noticed since few people will join several of them, I reckon Pinterest to still have the edge and the marketplace in Europe to make successful inroads not only into the way social marketing in retail is being done.

over 4 years ago

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