Proof of the force of social media in driving business on the web comes from Hitwise, reported here in Online Media Daily.
The research shows the continuing rapid growth of social media sites, and shows the effect of this in creating additional traffic on e-commerce sites.
Shopping and classified sites, for instance, received 2.4% of their visits directly from MySpace in September – an 83% increase since March. Other consumer-oriented industries that received traffic from MySpace in that period include telecommunications, banks, and travel.
As marketers we shouldn’t underestimate the value of the traffic generated by social media sites. With this rate of growth it won’t be long before the online advertising market begins to reshape radically, with social media becoming an integral part of all online communications strategies.
The challenge for us will be to come up with creative ways of using social media, beyond slapping banners, skyscrapers etc onto social media websites. The real commercial winners will be using social media to actively engage with their customers and prospects, as well as purely drive traffic for sales conversion elsewhere.