3 Facebook Updates Retailers Should Know from The Q3 Index

Over time, Facebook has become an everyday part of our lives. What we’ve seen over the past few years, however, is the e-commerce gain for retailers who market their company and products through Facebook. These days many retailers own and run a Facebook page. But it’s how you run it that is the vital component in its success.

Each quarter, our Facebook Commerce Index tracks retailers’ Facebook pages, analysing their growth over the past three months and the method they used to achieve such results. This quarter in the UK Facebook Commerce Index we delve into the Facebook strategies of Amazon, New Look, Boux Avenue and Isme. For the US Facebook Commerce Index we identified Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger, Ahnu Footwear and Northern Tools as the notable success stories of the past three months.

In Q3, there were also three important Facebook updates that apply to retailers; the News Feed Ranking algorithm, the use of Shutterstock images in advertising and finally changes to the way retailers can run promotions. Below we provide a brief overview of these changes:

News Feed Ranking Algorithm

Facebook1Facebook’s new update allows certain posts, which users may have missed the first time around, to reappear near the top of their news feed. This will only occur however if the post has received a significant amount of Likes and comments.

The result is that even if Facebook users missed a post the first time, they are given a second chance to see selected posts. If a user didn’t scroll down their news feed far enough and never saw a retailer’s post and if the post receives an adequate amount of engagement from other users, it would reappear near the top of the news feed. The benefit of this update is the increased exposure it offers retailers. Make sure you make your posts as engaging and relevant as possible to boost your chances of reappearing in a feed. 

Shutterstock Images & Multiple Images Uploads:

Millions of Shutterstock images are now available to businesses on Facebook at no additional price. Retailers on Facebook will also be able to select multiple images when creating ads. One of the biggest advantages of retailers using images from the Shutterstock library is that they are all commercially licensed and available for use in all Facebook ad formats.

Facebook 2

The right images, especially those of high quality, will often increase the performance of Facebook ads. This update now provides retailers with a far broader choice of images, allowing you to select the most suitable one for your ad. The multiple images uploads update also allows retailers to create multiple ads at the same time, speeding up the process significantly.

Administering Promotions Facebook 3

Following an update of Facebook’s page terms, promotions on Facebook (e.g. giveaways or prizes that require entry or registration) are no longer required to be administered purely through apps.

This update means that promotions can now be run on page timelines, enabling retailers to collect entries from users posting on their page, or from Liking and commenting on a page post. Likes can be used as a voting mechanism and retailers can attain entries via users messaging on the page.

6a00d8341d136453ef0192ac6a4a82970d-800wiHaving a Facebook presence can certainly help you engage with customers and increase brand awareness, no matter where you’re located across the globe. For more on Facebook as a retail and marketing tool and to learn how leading companies are already mastering this channel, download the full Q3 analysis in the UK Facebook Commerce Index or US Facebook Commerce Index today. 

With less than one month remaining in the final quarter of 2013, keep a look out for our fourth and final quarterly Facebook Commerce Index around the start of 2014.


3 Facebook Updates Retailers Should Know from The Q2 Index

Facebook pages are at the heart of social commerce; they’re one of the many ways retailers grow brand influence, find and engage in conversations with potential customers, promote products and leverage the power of peer influence in purchase decisions. The purpose of ChannelAdvisor's quarterly Facebook Commerce Index is to track fan growth and analyze strategies that leading US retailers use to engage with fans and promote products on Facebook. This report reveals the LEADING retailers on Facebook, analyzes the strategies behind top engagers and growers, and sheds light on Facebook updates retailers can leverage for business.

This quarter, the Facebook Commerce Index highlighted three important Facebook changes that apply to retail brands: the US release of Graph Search, the launch of hashtags and new page engagement metrics. Learn what's new on Facebook that you can be using for your retail business!


Graph Search is Rolled Out in the US

With the release of Graph Search in the US, Facebook users and retail customers can easily find businesses and retailers that fit their wants and needs. Through this search engine, Facebook users are able to see what Pages their friends or followers have “Liked” and recently visited on Facebook. Using Grpah Search, Facebook users gain visibility into what products and retail Pages are most Liked by their network of friends. With this update, it's key that retailers update the "About" information to ensure their Page will be indexed for related searches by users. 

In the example below, Graph Search is being used to crowdsource Shopping & Retail places (or, Pages) this user's Facebook friends have "Liked":

Graph search

This update adds weight to an important principle our Facebook Commerce Index has been impressing on retailers all along: content published to Facebook must be engaging and shareable. The more your content is organically shared by fans, the more likely you'll grow your fan base by reaching similar audiences. As your grow your audience, the more likely you'll be found by 'friends of fans' through Graph Search.

Increased Visibility with #Hashtags

Another recent update that Facebook made is the use of the hashtag (e.g. #CyberMonday), which allows users to discover all conversations happening about a single topic within Facebook at any given point in time. Hashtag enable users to see a wider, public discussion based on the topic of the hashtag. Hashtags, when clicked, lead to a separate window within Facebook where all posts with that same hashtag are aggregated for the user to see.

Using hashtags, retailers can draw attention to specific events, promotions and products. Further, hashtags present great opportunities to connect with Facebook users and audiences beyond their established fan bases. 

EBags provides a great example on how to use hashtags within a product-focused post on Facebook. Using the hashtag #throwbackthursday is a smart strategy because the topic isn't siloed to eBags' brand or category. By choosing to hashtag a topic that's both fun and used widely on social media, eBags multiplies the liklihood that this post will be discovered by Facebook users who've also used or searched for the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag:



Additional Insights for Page Managers

Facebook has given social marketers additional insight, releasing new Page metrics and data to track engagement. "PTAT" stands for people talking about this and is a metric that provides unique insight for marketers. It is used to measure the engagement on Facebook pages and allows retailers to see how many people have used content from their pages to create their own posts and stories. What’s more with the new Page metrics, retailers can see who's engaging and where, with engagement data segmented by gender, geography, country, city and language.  This information can be used to make smarter decisions about the type of content and posts that garner the greatest interest.  

Below you can see how Facebook has made the process of tracking engagements easy, with insight into the total Facebook users engaged versus Page fans engaged by gender, age, geography and language:



The Q2 Facebook Commerce Index offers retailers a greater idea of how to make their businesses rise above the competition when it comes to the use of social media sites. Whether you are a small or large retailer, this report is sure to leave you more informed and to provide you with beneficial information helpful for your specific business. To learn who the TOP Retailers on Facebook are, and which retailers, big and small, are emerging as social commerce trailblazers, download the Q2 Facebook Commerce Index today!



Is a Higher ROAS Always Better?

To some, it seems obvious to stretch your ad budget further by maximizing your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS = how many dollars in revenue you get for each dollar spent). Becoming obsessed with and achieving a 5-to-1 or even a 10-to-1 return may seem like it will make your marketing efforts shine, but at what cost? Today we’re taking a look at a common question from a slightly different view.


Which result would you rather have?

Spend            Revenue       ROAS

$1,000            $10,000          10:1

$5,000            $40,000            8:1

$10,000          $60,000            6:1


From the table, you’ll notice that the difference in spend becomes incremental when compared to the higher revenue that’s possible when your business advertising program is thoughtfully managed.

Lets think about the network effects (other than higher revenues) that result from more sales:

  • Better pricing from wholesale suppliers when more quantity is purchased
  • Improved rates from fulfillment partners when more shipments are made
  • Enhanced ability to optimize processes, with the greater volume of metric data is available from broadened results

Measuring tape via wwarbyObviously, some retailers have margins that wouldn’t allow them to stay in business if their marketing programs had a 6:1 ROAS across the board.

Despite this fact, I encourage you to ask the question in regard to measurement: Is ROAS the complete story? 

Which products feature higher margins? Can we take a lower ROAS on those products? 

Third-party software can enable you to maximize sales on products you can afford to. For example, with ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Driven Search program retailers can dynamically create Paid Search content and keywords for each product—allowing them to optimize spending using business rules tied to these products and inventory quantities. For Comparison Shopping channels, business rules and automatic bid adjustments can ensure a similar strategy is in place.

Does a new customer have a high lifetime value?

If a strong relationship is established with a new consumer, you can usually count on that buyer to come back and purchase time and time again. This may justify taking a lower margin on the first purchase from new customers. Using advanced tactics, such as remarketing, can assist in securing a purchase from a shopper on the verge of converting.

Are there worthwhile conversions other than purchases?

Shoppers looking at your website may complete a valuable action other than purchase on their first visit. Visitor actions such as catalog downloads, newsletter sign-ups and promotional video views indirectly promote sales by establishing trust, developing relationships and educating potential buyers about your products and the trustworthiness of your brand, and should all be considered justification for advertising costs. These actions are important touch points for customers on the way to a purchase. ChannelAdvisor’s custom event tracking software can help you measure these non-revenue conversions and assign appropriate value to them.


These are just a few considerations to make when structuring your advertising budget and performance goals. Bear in mind that while maintaining a high ROAS is an important component of your strategy, it’s not the only detail that matters.

Ultimately, many retailers find that bringing in more revenue is a desirable result, even if it comes at a lower margin. The key is making sure you have enough visibility and automation that you can control your advertising program rather than letting it control you.

Blog post by David Monterroso, Senior Solutions Consultant, ChannelAdvisor.

Image Source: wwarby


Need-To-Know Changes from Facebook & The ChannelAdvisor Facebook Commerce Index

The Facebook Commerce Index for Q1 2013 is out, and we’ve tweaked it just for you.

If you’ve been following the FBCI to date (introductory post here), you’ve learned to anticipate seeing what new punches big dogs are throwing in the Top 25 ring, which victors emerge from unlikely verticals, and what content and engagement tactics are proving most successful for retailers across the board.

What’s new to the FBCI?

This year, we’ll be sifting through Facebook’s updates each quarter to highlight which may elicit changes in retailers’ social strategies with regard to content, advertising, mobile usability and more.

In Q1, there were a handful of updates from Facebook that will be crucial for retailers to pay attention to going forward, including graph search, an updated look for news feed (as displayed in the photo below) and more. Read the full Facebook Commerce Index to find out why these changes apply to retail pages and our suggestions for how to react.

New timeline View


Image Source: Facebook.com


Highlights from the Q1 FBCI

The total number of online retailer fans climbed to 550 million in Q1, clocking in at 7.5% growth.

We saw 1756% growth from Boot Barn, a western footwear and apparel retailer. It lassoed fans by peppering product promotions with coupon-like photography and the occasional Facebook offer amidst a stream of lighthearted contests and updates to keep its fans coming without overwhelming them with Boot Barn products.

Boot Barn 1

KitchenSource.com proved that expensive contests and giveaways aren’t the only way to garner a following, growing to 4,369 fans in less than 3 months, an immense uptick relative to its January starting point of 848 fans. KitchenSource.com found success in posting high-quality images of dream homes for its fans to drool over, reminding us that publishing category-related content that users want to see can produce engagement without sounding too pushy on the product front. 

KitchenSource.com 1

Read up on all the charts of the Q1 2013 Facebook Commerce Index in the full FBCI:

  • How Retailers Should React to Facebook’s Latest Changes
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Number Growth
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Percentage Growth

Download Now





Why Retailers Should Be Thinking Like Media Producers

Become a media producer, drive demand and create new paths to conversion.

A couple of months ago, I attended Group Commerce's "ThinkCommerce" summit. Group Commerce focuses on e-commerce for Publishers, making their business adjacent to ChannelAdvisor if not completely overlapping. A lot of the content was still extremely informative for me. If you're interested in a snapshot of where the Media Industry's e-commerce efforts are, there's a lot of reports, slides, and videos at the ThinkCommerce website. I particularly recommend the Keynotes video presented by Forrester's Sucharita Mulpuru and Terence Kawaja.

The primary message in this summit that stood out to me as an e-commerce professional, is that the Media Industry is actively coming after e-commerce in 2013. With subscriptions and ad revenues both in decline, they have to. There is no choice in the matter.

Jon Miller quote

The quote to the right was one of the big things that I heard the ex-News Corp Chief say. The whole message of this conference was that media companies have to enter e-commerce fast. This quote turns that proposition on its head. Retailers should be creating media to drive consumer demand. Retailers should become media companies that drive demand through media/consumer interaction. This is the primary idea that I took from the day.

What kinds of media could this include? Here are 3 simple things you can do to create media that helps build your customer community.

1. Video reviews & Lifestyle Videos

Video reviews can be a great conversion enhancer and present an opportunity to create a unique voice that your customer can relate to. Numerous studies have shown that including product videos can significantly enhance conversion rates.

Similarly to a review, lifestyle videos can provide an opportunity to connect with your consumer and provide great content for other marketing channels like email or social media. The next time that you conduct a product photography session, try capturing some video* of the shoot and editing the footage into a "Spring Preview" or "New Products" video. This can become a great recurring featurette to highlight on your homepage, blog, or marketing channels.

Retail brands that consistently feature content become regular destinations for consumers that want to know more about a product before they will make a purchase.

*Most digital point-and-shoot cameras are capable of capturing quality high-resolution video and many laptops and desktops come pre-loaded with video editing software (iMovie / Windows Movie Maker). Odds are you also have an employee that's already familiar as a hobbyist with the skills necessary to produce great video content to use in a pilot program. YouTube can host the videos for free. With an initial success you can justify putting more resources into a more substantial effort.

2. Top 5 List / Tips List

People love lists! Featuring a list of "Top 5 Products for... X" on your homepage will always attract clicks. There's no reason to rely on magazines and blogs to create these for you. Simply identify products with some common threads and pull them together with some thematic copy that appeals to the type of shopper that you’re targeting with each list. Consumers will use this when shopping for themselves as well as for others.

Products used to accomplish a consumer's goal can also be bundled together into a "Tips" list. For retailers of tools and hardware, try creating a list of products necessary for completing home improvement projects. For automotive retailers why not try writing an article about "5 Simple Projects to Pimp Your Ride."

3. Featured Product write-ups / Trend Alerts

Try to take a different angle on the product review. Is your brand identity tied to a region? Have any company connections to celebrities or athletes? Try working with strong personalities within or without your organization and have them integrate the products that you sell into their daily life, possibly with a regional twist if possible. Do you sell kitchen products? Have one of your employees that loves to cook try out a new product to make something and share the recipe.

If you see a category emerge within your products that is really moving, try building on that natural momentum. Feature the product category on your homepage. On the alert page, highlight what product trends your buyers need to know about with editorial and links to products that relate to this trend.

Hopefully, these ideas have sparked some creativity. Being a retailer can be about more than just the products you sell, but also about the personality of your Brand. Letting your consumers see into this personality is part of what will keep them coming back. The media companies are coming. As a retailer you are already ahead of them in knowing how to be successful at e-commerce. Now it’s time to show them how to create great content. 

Check out some of our customer success videos to see how we've taken a case study spin on content creation.  

Blog post by David Monterroso, ChannelAdvisor Senior Solution Consultant @MontyCommerce


Q4 2012 US Facebook Commerce Index

Macy's week of wonderfulThe Q4 US Facebook Commerce Index is complete.  Headline of the quarter: 12% growth! That's quite the leap from the average 8% growth for most of 2012. We also surpassed 500 million fans for the first time.  2013 could be the year the the total fancount of the Facebook Commerce Index hits 1 billion! 

The upper echelon of the top 25 stayed mostly the same--Victoria's Secret hasn't regained its spot from Walmart and Target, but Macy's had a pretty impressive leap for the forth quarter--up 3 positions! 


From Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday to Christmas to the "Week of Wonderful" after Christmas, Macy's never lets up.  The company is constantly updating its facebook page with contests, celebrities, charities, new men's apparel, kids, women's, beauty, the list goes on!  There is something for everyone in Macy's target demographic, and clearly it paid off this holiday as they jumped from 16th place to 13th place on the Top 25.

Amazon Naughty or Nice

Amazon doesn't have quite the volume of posts that Macy's does, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.  Take, for example, the post below.  This was one of only 19 posts in November, but it got 45,539 Likes! 

Read up on all the charts of the Q4 2012 Facebook Commerce Index:

  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Number Growth
  • Top 25 Retailers by Fan Count Percentage Growth

Download Now


November 2012 UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FBCI)

This month’s UK Facebook Commerce Index has seen more dramatic changes to the Top 25. Six large retailers slipped down in the charts, while three soared up the table. Asda deserves a mention for jumping four places, with just under 100,000 new fans in 30 days. Amazon is the top grower this month, with an astonishing 410,521 new Likes in November. Overall, our Top 25 increased their fan count by 1, 487, 623 over the month. We will be releasing a deep-dive analysis of the UK FBCI Q4 results in January. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all of our UK FBCI readers!

Top 25


October 2012 UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FBCI)

Though the next full UK Facebook Commerce Index will be a quarterly report published in January, we want to give you a sneak peek of who performed well in October. We had a new entry to our Top 25, with The Carphone Warehouse leaping in to 24th position after 8% growth in October. Amazon continued its dramatic growth after adding an extra 527,027 fans and Dorothy Perkins saw a 22% increase in Likes in  just 31 days. Cumulatively our Top 25 now have 25,282,977 Likes to their name, and are each displaying excellent social strategies. Join us next month for the November tables and in 2013 for the UK FBCI Quarterly Report. 



Q3 2012 US Facebook Commerce Index

Q3 FBCI coverThe Q3 Facebook Commerce Index white paper is now available, and big news: Victoria's Secret falls from its top position!  

To be sure, the Victoria's Secret Angels aren't lacking in Likes (the company did grow 2% over the quarter); however, both Target and Walmart have stepped up their game so much this quarter that they blew past Victoria's Secret--growing 17% each.  Full details about the rise of the Big Box stores are included in the white paper. 


Not to be outdone, Amazon continued its climb with 57% growth this quarter!  That means that in just six months Amazon has gone from 25th on the top fan count list all the way up to 7th; an impressive climb for the online retailer.  

Amazon 10 million fans

Dell had some impressive Q3 growth at 152%, much of which surrounded its Dell Festival Tour.  Dell would go to festivals like Lollapalooza and set up the "Dell Live Lounge" where concert-goers could come recharge their batteries both literally and figuratively.  

Dell Live Lounge
Read up on all the excitement from Q3 2012 with the Facebook Commerce Index quarterly white paper.  

Download Now

P.S. For more information on how you can maximize product visibility on Facebook, check out ChannelAdvisor Facebook Campaigns



September 2012 UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FBCI)


Top Growers

September’s UK Facebook Commerce Index is here, and the numbers did not disappoint this month! With a number of movers and shakers in our Top 25 and many retailers showing some solid growth on August, we’ve got some great numbers to share. Across September we recorded a month on month increase of 5% - equivalent to 1,449,794 Likes, and many retailers had a very strong September indeed. Not least of all is Amazon, so after months of incredible performance, we’ve decided to dedicate an entire section of our blog to the Marketplaces – eBay and Amazon. We’ll be tracking these two every month and providing an update.

In addition, we also saw a new entry to our Top 25 – something which doesn’t happen very often! Asda jumped to number 23 spot, up from just outside our Top 25 - check out our analysis on its Facebook presence below.

Spotlight on Marketplaces

Since adding them to our Index, eBay and Amazon have both had a very strong impact on our Top 25, demonstrating the strength of their user community and how well this interacts with a social channel such as Facebook. Amazon in particular has had an incredible few months of growth on Facebook, and over September the marketplace added over 393,000 Likes – making them the top grower by number this month once again. Even more excitingly, Amazon jumped into the number 2 position within our Top 25 list, shaking up the top 3 that has held strong for many, many months. Topshop are still holding strong onto that number 1 spot, but with Amazon growing at 24% over September compared to Topshop’s 10%,  it may not be long before Amazon steal its crown. As with every month, we ask what Amazon are doing to drive such growth, and we can seemingly attribute this increase to is a focus on deals (especially the new Lightening Deals), new products and tapping into the hot topics of the moment – such as a timely post promoting the new season of Homeland available for sale on the day of the first episode of Season 2:


Not forgetting eBay, September was a very strong month for them as well, increasing Likes by 21% (in fact this performance puts them at number 3 in our top growers chart behind Amazon and Topshop).  eBay also managed to jump up our Top 25 by three places to position 10 this month which is fantastic – driven perhaps by promotion of their new tool “Help Me Shop”, the unveiling of eBay’s new logo, and a £5 voucher for Facebook users.


Asda Asda1

Asda jumped into our Top 25 this month after adding an impressive 49,000 Likes over the month of September and increasing its overall percentage by 14%. The supermarkets traditionally do well on Facebook (again the sense of community really suits the social nature of a Facebook page) and Asda has really tapped into this, with many of its posts generating hundreds if not thousands of Likes.  One post in particular must have struck a chord with many of Asda’s followers after they cut their price of fuel – generating over 11,000 Likes in response, and nearly 2,500 shares:

As we’ve seen time and time again through our Index, success on Facebook is often determined by connecting with “fans” on a particular topic, and Asda seem to have this really spot on, with personable posts, focusing on very everyday topics such as childhood sweets, Sunday Roasts, the weather and even the Flu jab...all with a sprinkling of the all-important competition of course!

Finally, Asda have impressed us here at ChannelAdvisor with their “Get Cooking” app – a fantastic way to engage users of all ages to encourage them to cook and share recipe ideas.


Another retailer who had a great September, feelunique.com added 13% more Likes to its total over the month of September, equivalent to just over 5,000 Likes.


feelunique.com has a really fantastic style and approach to its Facebook page; it’s friendly and personable, with a really funky edge to it that suits its product range perfectly.

The team post regular updates on not only exciting new products and offers, but also on fashion/beauty related topics such as London Fashion Week, Q&A’s with make-up artists and beauty brand owners, and regular competitions. Also (and perhaps more importantly), the feelunique.com team is very quick to questions from shoppers, which is great to see and I’m sure gives that extra special element of service.


One of Kingfisher Group’s flagship brands, trade supplier and DIY monolith, Screwfix, sees a healthy 9% rise in fans this month, adding another 5,400 to its Facebook page, and securing 12th place in our ‘Top Growers’ index for September.

This represents an encouraging rise in fans for Screwfix who, irrespective of still being somewhat off the pace when it comes to the Top 25 in our Index, are certainly honing its skills in engagement – particularly with their photos and commentary aimed firmly at the UK tradespeople!


Be it a cup of tea, full English or imaginative company names for your local handyman, everything’s catered-for in Screwfix’s Fanpage these days…


Seasoned Facebook Index residents, Sainsbury’s, continue its assault on our Top 25 chart, rising one place to 17th overall. No doubt keeping its eye on young upstarts, Asda, and taking strength from Tesco’s recent share price woes, the grocery retailer also featured in 15th place in our ‘Top Growers’ index, adding over 17,000 fans to its page (a 3% growth from August).

Engagement seems to be – as ever – high on the agenda for Sainsbury’s, with National Curry Week and Hallowe’en being seasonal and relevant vehicles for soliciting customer feedback and comment.

What is particularly clever with this line of seemingly casual questioning is that Sainsbury’s is constantly gleaning product-related information from potential consumers – most likely with a view to developing and broadening its in-store (and online) offering. This is a great example of direct marketing with a relatively low cost base, and imaginative angle.

It would be interesting to perhaps monitor the fans’ responses to these questions, and conduct your own investigation to see if those particular curries or Hallowe’en outfits ended up your local store!

Pine Solutions/Cotswold Company

Cotswolds PineSolutions1














And finally, a special mention to new entrants in our ‘Top Growers’ Index, the little-known Blackbird Retail Holdings’ twin homewares retailers, These two – separate – brands have been somewhat under the radar for the last couple of years, having concentrated on perfecting their offering, and ensuring that the right people were there to take the businesses to the next level.

Indeed, they’ve certainly done so with respect to our Facebook Index, seeing a 26% and 15% increase in fans over the last month – impressively, whilst the total fan numbers are still relatively low (1,123 and 75 at time of writing), there’s no doubt that competitions have proven an effective way of generating those extra numbers.

We look forward to seeing how these two newbies fare in the coming months!