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The Digital Skeptic: Social Media in Cleopatra Phase, Queen of Denial

Tickers in this article: IBM

But in terms of bad news, Twitter's zero conversion factor was not the only bad e-commerce karma lurking.

In the results for the otherwise-lucrative department store category, presented on Page 8, shopping cart session percentages -- in which visitors put at least one item in their shopping carts -- dropped by a stunning 25%. Equally grim were bounce rates where viewers left after viewing just one page: 16 or so percent. Pageviews also fell dramatically -- by almost 26%.

As someone who makes most his living online, I can tell you I wouldn't be if my content posted numbers like these.

No Social Sale
Certainly e-commerce isn't disappearing -- it's maturing rapidly. It's no longer a retail playland. Some categories are facing real limits in retention, user interaction and probably growth. And while total sales will grow, the notion of "social sales" as a magic retailer bullet is probably not a winner.

The larger message is clear: Don't be surprised when other reports begin mimicking IBM's data. And don't be surprised by how the Internet industrial complex stubbornly refuses to face this new reality.

I guess floating down the river named "Denial" is just too much fun.