Social Media Ecommerce: Which Platform is Right for You?

The vast majority of Americans are using social media. As of February 2021, 72% of the adult population in the United States was live on at least one platform, which is a huge increase over the 50% who were live on one platform or more in May 2011 (see the chart below). This growth has created huge opportunities for social media ecommerce.

Is your brand taking advantage of these opportunities?

The first step to mastering social media ecommerce is choosing the right platform for selling your products. There’s a huge difference between the typical user of Facebook and the typical user of TikTok (just as there’s a big difference between the average Instagram user and the average Twitter user).

To help you choose the right platform (or platforms) for your ecommerce efforts, here are more details on the leading sites for selling on social media.



1. Facebook

Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform (SixDegrees.com, Friendster and Myspace can all make a valid claim to that title), but it has become the world’s most used and most durable social media site in the 21st century. As of April 2021, Facebook was home to more than 2.8 billion active users worldwide. That’s a huge market for your social media ecommerce efforts.

Facebook’s largest demographic of users are ages 25–35, which is an attractive range for online selling. But the ecommerce industry has experienced a spike in purchases from younger and younger crowds in recent years — and platforms that cater to those below 25 are likely to see the largest ecommerce growth.

2. Instagram

Instagram rolled out in-app purchasing in 2019. “Swiping up” has become an essential brand-building tool on Instagram, including the ability to sell your products. Best of all, Instagram’s average users fall into a slightly younger age range than Facebook — 18–35.

If the average ecommerce buyer continues to be younger in the coming months and years, the platforms (like Instagram) that serve a slightly younger audience are going to be more desirable for social media ecommerce.

3. TikTok

In January 2018, TikTok was home to about 54 million users around the world. By July 2020, that number had grown to 689 million. TikTok’s skyrocketing usage makes it one of today’s most desirable platforms for social media ecommerce.

And TikTok is also home to one of the youngest demographics you’ll find on social media. The average TikTok user falls into the 10–20 age range. Adding to the TikTok opportunity for social media ecommerce, young consumers are twice as likely to make purchases through TikTok than through other social media platforms.

Huge increases in usage and the purchasing potential of TikTok have created equally as large ecommerce expectations. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, has stated a goal of handling more than $185 billion in ecommerce each year by 2022.

Which Platform is Right for Your Brand?

You and your team know your target audience better than anyone else. Where is your target audience most likely to spend its time on social media? The answer to that question should drive your choice of platform for testing social media ecommerce.

Once you find success selling on one social media platform, and if you think there’s opportunity on a different site, scale your efforts by testing elsewhere. For example, maybe your target audience spends most of its time on Facebook. After you’ve achieved ecommerce success on Facebook, start testing on Instagram to see if you can replicate your success.

Social media presents an attractive opportunity for brands of all kinds to grow their businesses and engage with new customers.

Don’t Forget About Shipping

Making a social media ecommerce purchase is just the beginning of the customer experience. As you receive orders, the speed and cost of your fulfillment plus the branded nature of your shipping can make a huge difference in delighting your customers and generating repeat business.

At ShipEngine, we offer the world’s leading shipping API — which can help you quickly and affordably fulfill orders that come in via social media, and create a customer experience that leads to brand loyalty. With ShipEngine, you can:

  • Shop rates across 70-plus regional, national, international and LTL carriers.
  • Validate addresses around the world.
  • Print labels in real-time.
  • Track packages to their destinations (and configure tracking alerts for your customers).
  • Create branded experiences through tracking pages and logo labels.
  • Plus more.

Are you ready to solve shipping for social media ecommerce and other online selling? ShipEngine can help. Get in touch with our team to learn more about what ShipEngine can do for your brand.

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